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LeBron’s move to LA gives ‘new lease on life’ to East teams



By Frank Pingue

(Reuters) – LeBron James’ move to the Los Angeles Lakers gives new life to Eastern Conference teams that have been foiled by the game’s greatest player for nearly a decade, basketball Hall of Famer Reggie Miller said on Wednesday.

After James romped his way into the NBA Finals in each of the last eight seasons, those left in his wake can be excused if they are breathing a sigh of relief because their nemesis is now in the more competitive Western Conference.

“Ding dong the witch is dead. Bye LeBron, don’t let the door hit you. It’s a new lease on life in the Eastern Conference,” Miller, who spent his career with the East’s Indiana Pacers and is now an NBA analyst for TNT, told a conference call.

“Look, he held it down obviously and that’s what the greats do, they dominate.”

The Boston Celtics, who came a game shy of beating James and the Cleveland Cavaliers in last season’s East final despite playing without two top players, are considered to have the inside track of representing the Eastern Conference in next June’s NBA Finals.

The Toronto Raptors, bolstered by the offseason acquisition of former NBA Finals MVP Kawhi Leonard, and the Philadelphia 76ers, with a talented young core, are also among the teams thought to be in the mix.

Even the Pacers, who last season pushed the Cavaliers to a decisive seventh game in the first round of the playoffs, are another club in the Eastern mix.

“Indiana should’ve beaten Cleveland last year but didn’t because the greats rise to the occasion,” said Miller. “And I think Kawhi obviously getting to Toronto it’s a new lease on life for him as well as that franchise.”

In the most anticipated move of the offseason, James, who won three NBA titles while playing in the Eastern Conference, signed a four-year deal to play in Los Angeles where he will be surrounded by a mix of young players and journeymen.

The decision changed the landscape of the NBA and opened the door for East teams who can sleep easy knowing the dominant James is no longer in their path to the NBA Finals.

“It’s great that LeBron has taken his talents out west because it opens up the doors for not only a lot of these young players but these organizations, fresh blood,” said Miller.

“Something new to see who can compete for that Eastern crown.”

(Reporting by Frank Pingue in Toronto, editing by Pritha Sarkar)



NHL roundup: Crosby, Pens edge Oilers in OT



Sidney Crosby scored a highlight goal at 2:12 of overtime Tuesday to give the visiting Pittsburgh Penguins a 6-5 win over the Edmonton Oilers in a back-and-forth game.

Crosby stickhandled all over the Oilers zone before backhanding the puck over the left pad of goaltender Cam Talbot for his second goal of the game. Patric Hornqvist and Jamie Oleksiak also scored twice for Pittsburgh.

Leon Draisaitl and Alex Chiasson each scored twice and Connor McDavid added a goal for Edmonton.

Matt Murray made 41 saves for the Penguins, and Talbot made 25.

Sharks 5, Predators 4

Brent Burns scored the game-winning, power-play goal with 2:52 remaining to cap a three-goal, third-period rally as San Jose won at Nashville.

Burns beat Juuse Saros with a slap shot from the left faceoff circle for his second goal of the season off assists from Erik Karlsson and Evander Kane. Timo Meier, Tomas Hertl, Brenden Dillon and Joe Pavelski recorded the other goals for San Jose, which won its third game in a row.

Viktor Arvidsson registered two goals, and Filip Forsberg and Craig Smith added goals for the Predators, who had a five-game winning streak snapped.

Bruins 4, Senators 1

David Pastrnak scored two goals and had two assists, and Patrice Bergeron added a goal and two assists to help visiting Boston defeat Ottawa.

David Krejci had a goal and an assist for the Bruins, who have won six games in a row against the Senators, including four last season. Pastrnak tied the Toronto Maple Leafs’ Auston Matthews for the NHL lead with 10 goals.

Thomas Chabot scored for the Senators. Boston goalie Tuukka Rask made 38 saves while Ottawa goaltender Craig Anderson stopped 28 shots.

Canadiens 3, Flames 2

Jeff Petry and Jonathan Drouin each had a goal and an assist in Montreal’s three-goal second period as the host Canadiens beat Calgary on a historic night for goaltender Carey Price.

The 31-year-old Price stopped 21 shots in earning his 289th career win, tying him with Patrick Roy for second place in Montreal history. Jacques Plante tops the club with 314.

Petry and Brendan Gallagher had power-play goals and Drouin scored at even strength as the Canadiens produced all three of their goals in a span of 3:21. Michael Frolik and Elias Lindholm scored for Calgary.

Blackhawks 3, Ducks 1

Brandon Saad scored twice for his 14th career multiple-goal performance, and Chicago held on for a win over visiting Anaheim.

Patrick Kane also scored for the Blackhawks, who earned at least one point for the seventh time in nine games this season. Chicago’s Corey Crawford made 24 saves. He has stopped 61 of 63 shots in his past two starts.

Rickard Rakell scored the lone goal for Anaheim, which has lost three contests in a row. Ducks goaltender John Gibson turned aside 35 shots.

Coyotes 4, Blue Jackets 1

Christian Fischer recorded his first career hat trick, Derek Stepan had three assists, and Darcy Kuemper made 35 saves in his second start of the season as a late replacement, leading Arizona to a win at Columbus.

Dylan Strome scored his second goal of the season on a power play for the Coyotes. Fischer scored in each period, putting the game away with a wrist shot from between the circles after a pass from Stepan at 4:44 of the third.

Pierre-Luc Dubois scored the Blue Jackets’ only goal, which came in the opening shift of the game.

Rangers 5, Panthers 2

Mika Zibanejad collected two goals and tied a career high with four points while Mats Zuccarello scored his first two goals of the season as New York overcame a slow start to defeat visiting Florida.

Zibanejad recorded three of his points in the second period — all on special teams when the Rangers turned a one-goal deficit into a two-goal lead.

Zibanejad became the first Ranger to get a short-handed goal and a power-play goal in the same period since Brandon Dubinsky on April 12, 2009, at Philadelphia.

Stars 4, Kings 2

John Klingberg scored the deciding goal and had an assist on an insurance tally as Dallas outworked visiting Los Angeles to snap a three-game losing streak.

Jason Spezza also had a goal and an assist for the Stars, and Devin Shore added two assists in the victory. Ben Bishop stopped 31 shots to snap his own three-game losing streak.

Anze Kopitar and Tyler Toffoli scored for Los Angeles, which got 19 saves from Jonathan Quick.

–Field Level Media









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Nunez blast powers Red Sox to Game One win over Dodgers



(Reuters) – Eduardo Nunez slammed a three-run pinch hit homer and Andrew Benintendi collected four hits to power the Boston Red Sox to a 8-4 win over the Los Angeles Dodgers in Game One of the World Series on Tuesday.

The first World Series meeting between the two iconic franchises in 112 years had been a seesaw battle until Nunez stepped up to the plate in the bottom of the seventh and took Dodgers reliever Alex Wood over the Green Monster, cashing in Benintendi and J.D. Martinez.

The Dodgers and Red Sox and a capacity crowd will be back at Boston’s Fenway Park on Wednesday for Game Two of the best-of-seven series.

With the teams sending out their aces, Game One had offered the promise of a marquee pitching duel between Red Sox seven-time all-star Chris Sale and Dodgers three-time Cy Young winner Clayton Kershaw.

But both starters were colder than the crisp fall weather, lasting just four plus innings.

Kershaw, who has never lived up to his Cy Young credentials in the post-season, endured another rough outing, surrendering five runs on seven hits to take the loss.

Sale yielded three runs on five hits.

Red Sox reliever Matt Barnes was credited with the win, working just one inning and giving up one hit.

Benintendi, the first player with four hits and three runs in a World Series debut, said the Red Sox came in with a plan on how to handle Kershaw.

“We had a solid approach against him tonight and for the most part we executed what we wanted to do,” he added.

“Getting on the board early and often, that’s what we’re trying to do and it gives us a better shot at winning.

“Up and down the lineup there’s not an easy out. We’re going to grind out at bats.”


The Red Sox wasted no time revving up the chilled Fenway faithful with Benintendi and J.D. Martinez connecting on run scoring singles to stake Boston to a 2-0 first inning lead.

Los Angeles answered right back in the top of the second with a solo home run from Matt Kemp, then tied it up in third on a Manny Machado soft roller to left field.

The Red Sox would retake the lead 3-2 in the bottom of inning, Martinez slamming a two-out double off the center field wall scoring Steve Pearce.

The rollercoaster contest continued into the fifth as Sale opened the inning by issuing a leadoff walk to Brian Dozier.

That would be the end of the game for Sale as Boston manager Alex Cora wasted no time going to his bullpen for hard-throwing Barnes.

Boston would not escape the inning without surrendering a run as Machado ground out to score Dozier and pull level at 3-3.

But once again the Red Sox would hit back, scoring a pair at the bottom of the same inning after driving Kershaw from the game.

With the bases loaded, Dodgers reliever Ryan Madson was able to limit the damage to a Xander Bogaerts force out scoring Mookie Betts and an RBI single from Rafael Devers.

The Dodgers loaded the bases with one out in the seventh but could manage only a single run, Machado bringing across his third of the game on a sacrifice fly that trimmed the Boston advantage to 5-4 before Nunez put the contest out of reach.

“They are a dangerous offense, especially when you give them extra outs,” said Dodgers manager Dave Roberts. “I thought we pitched them okay but that’s a dangerous offense over there.”

(Reporting by Steve Keating in Toronto. Editing by Peter Rutherford)












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NBA roundup: Griffin scores 50 in Pistons’ OT win



Blake Griffin scored a career-high 50 points, including a game-winning three-point play with 1.8 seconds left in overtime, and the Detroit Pistons edged the visiting Philadelphia 76ers 133-132 on Tuesday.

Griffin, whose previous career best was 47 points, made 20 of 35 field-goal attempts and 5 of 11 free-throw attempts. He added 14 rebounds and six assists.

Reggie Jackson supplied 23 points, Ish Smith tossed in 21 off the bench and Reggie Bullock added 17 for Detroit. Andre Drummond had 14 points and 16 rebounds before he was ejected late in regulation after picking up his second technical foul.

Joel Embiid racked up 33 points, 11 rebounds and seven assists, and JJ Redick had 30 points, six rebounds and six assists for Philadelphia. Redick’s four-point play gave the 76ers a 132-130 lead with 5.6 seconds remaining in overtime before Griffin responded.

Nuggets 126, Kings 112

Nikola Jokic had 14 points and 12 rebounds in just 23 minutes, Jamal Murray scored 19, and host Denver rolled to a win over Sacramento.

Gary Harris added 18 points and Paul Millsap scored 15 for the Nuggets (4-0). Denver is off to its best start since it won its first five games in the 2009-10 season.

Marvin Bagley III had 20 points and Justin Jackson scored 17 points for Sacramento, which wrapped up a 1-2 road trip.

Pelicans 116, Clippers 109

Anthony Davis had 34 points and 13 rebounds as host New Orleans continued its early-season roll with a victory over Los Angeles.

The Clippers held the Pelicans to 24 fewer points than they had averaged in winning their first two games, but New Orleans still improved to 3-0 for the first time since the 2010-11 season. Elfrid Payton added 20 points, and Nikola Mirotic had 18 points and 12 rebounds for the Pelicans.

Tobias Harris led Los Angeles with 26 points, and Danilo Gallinari scored 24.

–Field Level Media




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Shurmur: Giants won’t trade QB Manning



The New York Giants traded away a starter on Tuesday, but they won’t be dealing their starting quarterback before the Oct. 30 deadline, head coach Pat Shurmur said.

After cornerback Eli Apple was shipped to the New Orleans Saints, Shurmur was asked on a conference call with reporters if he expects Eli Manning to remain on the roster past next Tuesday.

“Yes, I do,” Shurmur said. “I think Eli will be our quarterback. He has been, and he’ll continue to be here. He has been and he will continue to be here. I don’t know how that will play into the Eli Apple trade.”

Despite speculation about quarterback-needy teams having interest, Manning was always an unlikely trade candidate due to his no-trade clause, which he is reportedly unlikely to waive.

“I haven’t thought about the trade scenario and hey, this organization is the only team I played for and only thing I know,” Manning said on WFAN radio Tuesday. “I love the Giants. It’s hard to imagine being with another organization.”

Shurmur remained committed to Manning as the team’s starter following an ugly outing in Week 6 against the Philadelphia Eagles.

Manning responded with one of his better games of the season Monday night against the Atlanta Falcons, going 27 of 39 for a season-high 399 yards and a touchdown with no turnovers despite being sacked four times. However, New York lost 23-20 to fall to 1-6.

For the year, Manning has 2,061 passing yards, seven touchdowns and four interceptions while averaging 7.7 yards per attempt, a figure he hasn’t hit over a full season since 2011.

The Giants have fourth-round rookie Kyle Lauletta on the depth chart, but journeyman Alex Tanney has dressed as Manning’s backup this season. Earlier this month, Shurmur declined to speculate about potentially giving Lauletta an audition if the Giants are out of contention late in the season.

–Field Level Media


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Dodgers’ Ryu hopes to add World Series glory to Olympic gold



By Rory Carroll

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) – Los Angeles Dodgers pitcher Ryu Hyun-jin says he will be ready to make his first World Series start on Wednesday against the Boston Red Sox, where he hopes to deliver a performance like the ones that helped South Korea capture Olympic gold in 2008.

Last season the lefty from Incheon failed to make the Dodgers’ World Series roster and could only watch from the dugout as his team fell in seven games to the Houston Astros.

However, with the Dodgers making it back to the Fall Classic the 31-year-old will get the chance to unleash his arsenal of off-speed pitches and silence the Red Sox’s bats in Game Two in Boston.

“Last year, because I couldn’t make the roster, I was more cheering for my team mates and making sure that they’re in their best moods,” he told reporters through an interpreter on Tuesday.

“But this year I actually have to go out there and perform … and I’m getting ready for it.”

Ryu was outstanding at the Beijing Olympics a decade ago, throwing a complete game shutout against Canada before going 8 1/3 innings in a 3-2 win over Cuba in the gold medal game.

He recognizes the World Series is a different kind of challenge.

“The most drastic difference between the two is the Olympics, it all came down to that last game to win it all,” he said.

“Obviously with the World Series you have to win four out of the seven.

“It’s really hard to say that such experience would help me, because we’re talking about two different competitions.”

Ryu had an excellent regular season, posting a 7-3 record in 15 starts and a 1.97 ERA.

To find success at a hostile Fenway Park, however, he will need to improve on his last post-season outing where he lasted just three innings in a 7-2 road loss to the Milwaukee Brewers in Game Six of the National League Championship Series.

Ryu said he struggled to control his curve ball and changeup against the Brewers but said his confidence has not been shaken.

“Looking back at it, if I actually commanded all of my off-speed pitches to get ahead in the count, I think there would have been a different result,” he said.

“Obviously tomorrow I’m going to use all of the pitches that I can throw and may try to command the pitches better.”

(Editing by Peter Rutherford)


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Surging Texans ready to tackle depleted Dolphins



Miraculous is too strong a word, but the early season turnaround orchestrated by the Texans has fashioned quite the unexpected result: Houston sits alone atop the AFC South.

The next obstacle for the Texans (4-3), who survived three consecutive white-knuckle conclusions before extending their winning streak to four games with a two-touchdown road victory against the Jacksonville Jaguars last Sunday, is to overcome the difficulty of a short week of preparation for Miami.

The Dolphins (4-3) come to Houston’s NRG Stadium on Thursday.

Houston coach Bill O’Brien said he had a plan in place for managing this week’s challenges long before the Texans’ recent run of resourceful play.

“Obviously, when you’re in the previous week, as you get to later in that week, you’re wrapping up the Jacksonville game plan and now you begin to look ahead to Miami,” O’Brien said.

“The schedule came out six months ago, so you knew that this was going to be a short week. So, hopefully, you’re a little bit ahead of the game so that when you get back from Jacksonville, boom, you have a real good idea of what you want to do. You watch the last Miami game, (the) Detroit game, and try to wrap up what you want to do so you can be ready for the players on the next day.”

Already hamstrung by the loss of quarterback Ryan Tannehill, who will miss his third consecutive game with a shoulder injury, the Dolphins’ 25th-ranked passing attack remains shorthanded with receivers Kenny Stills (groin) and Albert Wilson (hip) out.

Neither made the trip to Houston on Tuesday, with the Dolphins opting to leave earlier than they did for Thursday night games at Cincinnati in 2016 and Baltimore last year. Miami dropped both of those games.

“Yeah, obviously the last two years what we’ve done really hasn’t paid off,” Dolphins coach Adam Gase said, “so we just felt like it was a good opportunity for us to change it up. Talking with some of our players, they thought it was a good idea with how we scheduled it with our workouts, meetings, leaving early, just do something different.

“(Wednesday) we’ll be able to do a walk-through. We have meetings kind of all over the place between (Tuesday) and tonight, tomorrow. We’re just trying to get our players all the information throughout the week and have as many walk-throughs as possible and just keep talking and covering things all the way up to the game.”

–Field Level Media



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