National Sports

Patriots’ defense back on track heading into Super Bowl

By Kyle Hightower AP Sports Writer FOXBOROUGH, Mass. (AP) — It took an entire regular season and some tough losses, but the Patriots defense finally likes where it is at heading into its Super Bowl matchup with the Los Angeles Rams. It hasn’t been perfect, but after a slow start to ...

Larry Fitzgerald returning to Cardinals for 16th season

By Bob Baum AP Sports Writer PHOENIX (AP) — That Hall of Fame slot will have to stay vacant for a while. Larry Fitzgerald isn't ready to hang up the cleats just yet. The receiver, whose career statistics rank among the best ever to play the game, has signed a one-year contract to return ...

1 point away, Serena stunned by Pliskova at Australian Open

By HOWARD FENDRICH, AP Tennis Writer MELBOURNE, Australia (AP) — Four times, Serena Williams was only one point — a single point — from closing out a victory in the Australian Open quarterfinals. On the first such chance, at 5-1, 40-30 in the third set, she turned her left ankle ...

Vonn’s skis are waiting for her if she decides to race again

By ANDREW DAMPF, AP Sports Writer Lindsey Vonn's skis are waiting for her — whether she decides to continue racing or not. While Vonn ponders her future, her ski technician has set up shop in Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Germany, where World Cup downhill and super-G races are scheduled for this ...

Next year it’s Jeter’s chance to join Rivera in the Hall

By NOAH TRISTER, AP Baseball Writer Mariano Rivera sailed into the Hall of Fame without a single dissenting vote. Next year, it's Derek Jeter's turn — and don't expect much opposition then, either. Jeter headlines the group of candidates who will be newly eligible for the Hall next year , ...

Column: Hall of Fame is becoming a crowded place

By TIM DAHLBERG, AP Sports Columnist Edgar Martinez got in just as his chances were running out, meaning baseball's Hall of Fame will have yet another designated hitter. Three pitchers are in the newly elected class, too, including one whose credentials weren't good enough in the decade his ...

Williamson scores 25, No. 2 Duke shuts down Pitt 79-64

By WILL GRAVES, AP Sports Writer PITTSBURGH (AP) — There are plenty of words Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski can use to describe his star-laden roster. Nervous is not one of them. "My guys are not nervous," Krzyzewski said. "I'm nervous. But they are not. They love crowds. They love to ...

Thompson hits first 10 from 3 as Warriors rout Lakers

By The Associated Press LOS ANGELES (AP) — Klay Thompson tied an NBA record by making his first 10 attempts from 3-point range, scoring 44 points as the Golden State Warriors beat the short-handed Los Angeles Lakers 130-111 on Monday night to match a season high with their eighth consecutive ...

Tennessee faces similar test from last No. 1 ranking

By JOHN MARSHALL, AP Basketball Writer The last time Tennessee reached No. 1 in the AP Top 25 it lost to Vanderbilt the next day. Back at No. 1 for the first time in 11 years, the Vols face a similar situation. On Wednesday, they again play Vanderbilt right after becoming the nation's ...

QBs Lock, Grier, Jones among NFL prospects at Senior Bowl

MOBILE, Ala. (AP) — NFL scouts, coaches and prospects have gathered in Mobile, Alabama, for the Senior Bowl. The game for top senior NFL prospects and junior graduates will feature quarterbacks like Missouri's Drew Lock, West Virginia's Will Grier and Duke's Daniel Jones. The North and ...

Titles won by Pats, Rams not tarnished by bad officiating

By ARNIE STAPLETON, AP Pro Football Writer Yes, the Los Angeles Rams got away with a flagrant foul (or two) by cornerback Nickell Robey-Coleman that allowed them to sneak out of New Orleans with the NFC championship, right past the highway sign on the causeway over Lake Pontchartrain reading, ...

‘NFL bleaux it’: Billboards protest missed call in NFC game

NEW ORLEANS, La. (AP) — The Los Angeles Rams and New England Patriots will be welcomed to Atlanta for the Super Bowl by several billboards saying "Saints got robbed" and "NFL bleaux it." WDSU-TV reports Louisiana car dealership owner Matt Bowers paid for 10 billboards across Atlanta through ...

Saints-Rams NFC title game a clash of like-minded coaches

By Brett Martel AP Sports Writer NEW ORLEANS (AP) — One way or another, the NFC Championship between the Los Angeles Rams and New Orleans Saints will be won by a coach named Sean — with an Irish surname — who designs and calls plays for one of the most innovative and productive ...

Chiefs’ bandwagon rolling into Arrowhead for mighty Patriots

By Dave Skretta AP Sports Writer KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — It seems football fans everywhere are suddenly on the Chiefs’ bandwagon, enthralled by Kansas City’s record-setting young quarterback and exciting playmakers and hopeful the amiable coach can finally win the big one. Then ...

Defending champ gone: Sharapova ousts Wozniacki in Australia

By HOWARD FENDRICH, AP Tennis Writer MELBOURNE, Australia (AP) — Maria Sharapova smacked a forehand winner — the sort she's hit so many times, at so many key moments, over the years — to take control against defending champion Caroline Wozniacki at the Australian Open. Sharapova balled ...

One of the sleepers, Berdych, reawakens rivalry with Nadal

By JOHN PYE, AP Sports Writer MELBOURNE, Australia (AP) — The men's tennis tour picked four "sleepers" to watch at the Australian Open. One of them has reached the fourth round at the Australian Open as many times — 11 — as Stefan Edberg, who won two titles in five finals here. He also ...

Kuzma scores 32 as Lakers top Thunder in OT without LeBron

By CLIFF BRUNT, AP Sports Writer OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — The young Los Angeles Lakers matured on Thursday night. With four-time MVP LeBron James still sidelined by a left groin strain, Kyle Kuzma scored 32 points to help the Lakers beat the Oklahoma City Thunder 138-128 in overtime. James ...

AP source: Ottavino, Yankees agree to $27M, 3-year contract

By RONALD BLUM, AP Baseball Writer NEW YORK (AP) — While shying away from high-priced free agents Bryce Harper and Manny Machado, the New York Yankees are boosting their bullpen. Reliever Adam Ottavino and the Yankees agreed to a $27 million, three-year contract, a person familiar with the ...

Andrade set for first defense of middleweight title at MSG

By BRIAN MAHONEY, AP Sports Writer NEW YORK (AP) — Demetrius Andrade is just a few months from winning a middleweight title but perhaps still far away from fights with the division's biggest names. Canelo Alvarez, Gennady Golovkin and Daniel Jacobs are the headliners at 160 pounds, and ...

James Harden has 58 points in Rockets’ OT loss to Nets

By The Associated Press HOUSTON (AP) — Spencer Dinwiddie scored 25 of his 33 points in the fourth quarter and overtime and the Brooklyn Nets spoiled James Harden's 58-point night with a 145-142 victory over the Houston Rockets on Wednesday. Harden had his second straight season high after ...