CJ McCollum scored 31 points to lead the Portland Trail Blazers past the Brooklyn Nets.

Kawhi Leonard had 34 points and 10 rebounds and San Antonio overcame a listless start to beat Minnesota and wrap up its 20th straight playoff spot.

The Spurs won in overtime for the second straight night to extend their winning streak to seven.

LaMarcus Aldridge added 18 points and 10 rebounds for the Spurs, and Pau Gasol had 17 points and eight rebounds in his fifth straight game as a reserve. The Spurs outscored the Timberwolves 35-20 in the final quarter and overtime.

Karl-Anthony Towns had 24 points and 14 rebounds for Minnesota. The Timberwolves had not played since Wednesday night in Utah and had won four of five.


CJ McCollum scored 31 points to lead the Portland Trail Blazers past the Brooklyn Nets.

Al-Farouq Aminu made five 3-pointers and finished with 23 points off the bench as well as a team-high six rebounds for Portland, which won consecutive games for the first time since a three-game win streak from Jan. 21-27.

The Blazers went 16 of 25 (64 percent) on 3-pointers and shot 57 percent from the field overall. With its win and Denver’s loss to Charlotte on Saturday night, Portland moved within 1 1/2 games of the Nuggets for the final playoff spot in the Western Conference.

Brook Lopez led the Nets with 26 points.

I think that’s really important and I think that’s where Sashi is coming from. It could happen that way — not that we want it to be that way, but at the same time, that’s a reality, too. But we’re going to do everything we can to go find a quarterback for the Cleveland Browns.”

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he has earned the hefty contract he¡¯ll be paid, whether in Cincinnati or elsewhere

Kirkpatrick is one of two Bengals in this category. With concerns surrounding fellow corner Adam Jones¡¯ future with the Bengals, Kirkpatrick, becomes a priority this offseason. Coming off the best year in his career, he has earned the hefty contract he¡¯ll be paid, whether in Cincinnati or elsewhere.

Limited Youth Paul Posluszny Jersey But the Bengals, despite appearing deep at the position on paper, don¡¯t have much experience behind the two starters ¡ª something they value much more than most other teams in the league. Franchising Kirkpatrick could be a last-resort move the Bengals make to ensure their talented press corner remains a fixture in the team¡¯s ascending secondary.

Kevin Zeitler, Cincinnati Bengals offensive guard

To my knowledge, the only direct response we’ve received was from the NFL’s tax attorney, Jeremy Spector, through a writer who contacted them about the petition. The NFL’s justification was that it was only the league office that is tax-exempt, not the teams themselves; that they deserve that status as a trade organization promoting an industry; and that they wouldn’t really pay that much money in taxes anyway after all the accounting was done.

Adrian Amos Jersey Besides the fact that this multi-billion dollar industry being governed by a non-profit seems, on the face of it, unfair to everyone else who works hard and pays taxes, I really started the petition as a tool to gain some financial leverage over the NFL, and as a mechanism to call in the only body who seemed to have any authority over them: Congress.

I felt like every season started with some issue that fans felt uncomfortable with, but that we had no power to do anything about, whether it be the player lockout, the replacement refs, the growing body of evidence that the NFL hid reports linking concussions to later life disabilities, and so on. We just see that list of concerns getting longer today.

NFL standings and playoff picture 2014: Packers maintain narrow NFC North lead

The NFC North has been a two-team race for much of the season, and like much of the season, the Green Bay Packers held on to their narrow lead. Aaron Rodgers led the Packers to a solid victory over the Atlanta Falcons on Monday Night Football, lifting Green Bay to its 10th win of the season and tying them with a few other elite teams for the best record in the NFL.

They’re maintaining a narrow one-game lead over the Detroit Lions in the NFC North. Detroit is 9-4 after a dominant win over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers Sunday. They’ve got games against the Minnesota Vikings and Chicago Bears up next, and then a rematch with the Packers in Week 17, so the NFC North isn’t quite locked up just yet.

Both the Vikings and Bears are struggling this season. The Vikings are still trying to find a solution in the running game after the loss of Adrian Peterson for the season, and rookie quarterback Teddy Bridgewater has a long way to go. Jay Cutler doesn’t look like his old self for the Bears, and there’s talk of Marc Trestman’s job being in danger.

Whatever the case, it’s still a two-team race, though the Packers have the edge. Let’s take a look at the rest of the divisions and where they stand after Week 14:

Whether Peterson will win his appeal could hinge on how Henderson interprets Peterson’s decision to skip a disciplinary meeting. Though Vincent admits he told Peterson he would not be subject to the new personal conduct policy, a report by USA Today suggested that Vincent’s assurances depended on Peterson’s attendance at the meeting, which Peterson protested.

Henderson could also determine that Vincent didn’t have the authority to interpret Peterson’s potential discipline based on Vincent’s testimony.

An attorney for the NFL, Daniel Nash, during the arbitration hearing asked Vincent if in his position he’s responsible for interpreting the Personal Conduct Policy for the league.

“No, sir,” Vincent said.2

Compensatory picks are a reward for smart teams

When the NFL implemented compensatory draft picks in 1994, the idea was that the extra picks would lend a hand to the teams that got out-spent in free agency, which was then new in the league: Compensatory picks go to teams that lose more in free agency than they gain, and so the picks were envisioned as a safeguard against the rich raiding the rosters of the poor.

It hasn¡¯t worked out that way, however. In a league with revenue sharing and a salary cap, there¡¯s not much of a distinction between the rich and the poor.

Instead, compensatory picks have turned out to reward smart teams. The teams that have been wise about not over-spending in free agency and keeping themselves in good salary cap shape are the ones that keep getting lots of compensatory picks, while the teams that overspend in free agency are the ones that don¡¯t receive compensatory picks.
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Although Sanu didn¡¯t second-guess the pass-heavy strategy of offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan, he did seem to imply that maybe Shanahan got a little too crazy with the passing game when the Falcons were leading 28-3.
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¡°I mean, the thought crosses your mind,¡± Sanu said when asked if Atlanta should¡¯ve run the ball more in the second half. ¡°But as a player you¡¯re going to do what the coach wants you to do. He¡¯s called plays like that throughout the season all the time. He¡¯s been aggressive, we¡¯re an aggressive offense, so we go out there and we do what we do.¡±

If you missed Gaga¡¯s halftime show, you can see the entire thing below. Just make sure you¡¯re not in the middle of a workout or anything important.

Sources: Sports agent Rob Pelinka expected to be new Lakers GM under Magic Johnson

In a move that drastically reshapes the leadership structure of one of the NBA’s most illustrious franchises two days before the league’s trade deadline, the Lakers have named Hall of Famer Magic Johnson their new president of basketball operations while firing longtime general manager Mitch Kupchak and removing Jim Buss as executive vice president of basketball operations.

Coming off a terrible season, the Jets still have Brandon Marshall and Eric Decker on the roster. Adding a franchise quarterback could be huge for New York, who just two years ago made a playoff run with journeyman Ryan Fitzpatrick calling the shots on offense.

Limited Kids Rob Ramage Jersey Meanwhile, the Chargers — amid an ugly move to Los Angeles — decide to part ways with a guy who has been the center of trade rumors for quite some time now. Rivers, whose “mixed” feelings about a move to LA have been well-documented, could benefit from a change of scenery, and he seems to have at least a few good years left.

Jermaine Kearse Youth Jersey The trade is also reminiscent of a historic move, where then-Chargers running back decided to sign with the Jets in free agency after nine years in San Diego. New York made the AFC Championship in the first year of Tomlinson’s two-year deal.

The value wouldn’t be worth a trade in these circumstances, but then again, it wasn’t there in the Cousins deal either.

Yes, this is a completely ridiculous proposition, but so was the Kings’ decision to trade Boogie. Anyway, Hyde is probably expendable for the Niners, because we all know Shanahan isn’t going to run him when it matters.

Denny Hamlin, Brad Keselowski Clash showdown offers Daytona 500 preview

When you have two of NASCAR¡¯s best restrictor plate racers in a virtual mano-a-mano tussle in an exhibition event where points don¡¯t matter and winning is the only priority, fireworks are inevitable.
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Denny Hamlin and Brad Keselowski certainly delivered in Sunday¡¯s Advanced Auto Parts Clash at Daytona International Speedway. Taking turns, first Keselowski then Hamlin, the two dominated the non-points race, leading all but nine of 75 laps.

It was Hamlin who took control in the latter stages, however, as Keselowski fell back in traffic after incurring a pit road penalty. That Hamlin led 47 straight laps and had Joe Gibbs Racing teammates, Daniel Suarez and Matt Kenseth, acting as de facto wingmen, seemingly had him headed to a second straight Clash victory.

The PGA Tour got through the entirety of the second round on Saturday, made the cut late in the afternoon, and then immediately started sending the remaining field out in groups of three off two tees for the third round. But it was already late, and given the time of year with limited daylight, very little of the third round was going to be played at Riv. The leaders did not get close to the first tee before play was called due to darkness at 5:43 p.m. local. Dustin Johnson had a 6 p.m. tee time, so that wasn¡¯t going to work.
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On Sunday, players will be back in position at 9:50 a.m. ET/6:50 a.m. PT, and the final two tee times will roll off the 1st and 10th tees. The third-round tee times were spread across a two-hour window, which is common on the weekends on the PGA Tour when it¡¯s hustling to beat bad weather. The two-tee threesomes practice runs like a well-oiled machine at this point, but it¡¯s still going to be a race getting a full 72 holes done before dark on Sunday night. The PGA Tour is confident, however, and they will not re-pair the players for the fourth round.

Cleveland’s president of baseball operations, isn’t sure if the October hangover is as profound as some have suggested

“I think I’ve got the right muscles firing in the position they need to be to throw a baseball the correct way,” Wacha said. “I’m real happy with the way things are going right now and I just have to continue to build on that.”

Wacha’s fame came suddenly — in the spring of 2014, just weeks into his career, he was selected to shoot a GQ magazine spread on the beach nearby with Tampa Bay Rays superstar Evan Longoria — but it ebbed quickly as well. The chronic nature of Wacha’s injury could mean he never reaches the heights he seemed destined for just 18 months earlier.

But he already has taken the most proven approach to fighting back.

“I’m going in with the most positive attitude that I’m going to be healthy all year,” Wacha said. “That’s the goal: to be out there for every start or whatever they need me to. I’m real positive about the work that I put in this offseason.”

Chris Antonetti, Cleveland’s president of baseball operations, isn’t sure if the October hangover is as profound as some have suggested. But the Indians made sure to have pitching coach Mickey Calloway devise specialized workout and throwing plans for all their pitchers entering the offseason.

“If you think about it, you have a selection bias,” Antonetti said. “You’re looking at guys who were good enough to pitch on a team that was good enough to go that deep [into the postseason]. You’re coming from a very high bar, so it’s very likely they’re going to regress to the mean.

“We’ve tried to look at it at an individual level. What does each guy need individually in terms of rest, recovery and preparation for the following season? We had individual plans for everyone in the winter, and we’ll see which guys will have a bit of a different throwing program this spring.”

Miller stood out in the postseason because of his willingness to pitch anywhere from the fifth to the ninth inning, depending on what Cleveland manager Terry Francona needed on a given night. He logged 93? regular season and postseason innings between the New York Yankees and the Indians — compared to 62? the previous season.

Matthew Stafford is in line for a big pay raise this offseason

Work out an extension for Matthew Stafford. The Lions aren’t letting Stafford go anywhere, but as their longtime quarterback enters the final year of his deal, general manager Bob Quinn will probably want to sign Stafford to his extension now and not have to worry about the possibility of franchising him in 2018. The reason why? Quinn might have to use his franchise tag next year to keep his best pass-rusher.
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Running back situation: Lamar Miller ran for 1,073 yards on 268 carries, and Alfred Blue chipped in another 420 yards. Both are under contract, with Miller, 25, carrying a cap hit of $6.5 million.

Could it work? It’s no secret in league circles how much Peterson would be attracted to the idea of playing in Houston, where he lives in the offseason and opened a gym last year. The Texans went to the AFC divisional playoffs last season, and they’d certainly be an attractive destination for Peterson. Given Miller’s cap number and his role, though, this one probably only works if Peterson is willing to accept a smaller part in the offense. The tradeoff — a chance to join a contending team in his adopted hometown — could be worth it.
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The franchise tag is a labor designation that restricts a player’s potential movement in exchange for a high one-year salary. It is governed by owners and players through the collective bargaining agreement (CBA) and has two types.

The first is the “exclusive-rights” franchise tag. Any player with this tag is bound to the team for the upcoming season. His agent is prohibited from seeking offer sheets elsewhere. It is the average of the five-largest salaries at the player’s position through the end of the current year’s restricted free-agent signing period (April 21 this year), or 120 percent of the player’s salary the previous year — whichever is greater.