Friday, November 30, 2012

LIVE playoff chat starts at 7 p.m.

Staff Report
Welcome to our second live Trentonian playoff football chat.
We’re watching four big games in our area tonight, including: Allentown vs. Neptune, a rematch of an overtime playoff battle last season; Weequahic at Delran; Florence at Point Pleasant Beach; and Bristol vs. Dunmore over in Scranton, Pa.
Join us right here, or on our Trentonian sports blog, or on our Facebook page.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Rutgers chokes away a trip to the BCS

AP College Football Writer

PISCATAWAY — Banged-up Teddy Bridgewater came off the bench to throw two-second half touchdown passes, and John Wallace kicked a 29-yard field goal with 1:41 left to send Louisville to the BCS with a 20-17 victory against Rutgers on Thursday night.

In a game between one team headed to the Big Ten and another bound for the Atlantic Coast Conference, the Big East handed out its second-to-last bid to a school that entered the league during its last massive rebuild in 2005 and watched its athletic program blossom.

The Cardinals will be going to the BCS for the second time, first since 2006.

Louisville (10-2, 5-2) will share this Big East title with Rutgers (9-3, 5-2), Syracuse and possibly even Cincinnati, but the BCS bid will be all theirs. The BCS standings will be used to break the tie and there is no doubt Louisville, with the best overall record in the conference, will be on top.

Bridgewater didn't start a week after getting roughed up in a loss to Connecticut. He broke his left wrist and sprained his right ankle. He entered for the first time in the second quarter and finished with 263 yards passing and threw a pair of TD passes in the third quarter to wipe out a 14-3 deficit.

James Burgess picked off a pass that bounced off Timmy Wright's hands with 3:53 left in Rutgers territory, and Bridgewater hit Andrell Smith on a slant for 30 yards to put Louisville in field goal range. Wallace booted through the short kick to give Louisville the lead.

Rutgers' last chance ended when Gary Nova threw deep, but his receiver stopped short, and Terrell Floyd made an over the shoulder interception with 1:06 left. Nova bent over and grabbed his helmet in disgust.

The Scarlet Knights, the only team that has played in the Big East since it started playing football in 1991, probably will have only one more shot to win the conference for the first time before moving to the Big Ten.

Louisville can add one of the biggest wins in school history to an already memorable week. The Cardinals clinched a spot in the Bowl Championship Series a day after announcing they were joining the ACC.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Sixers hang on to beat Mavs


PHILADELPHIA — A pair of well-timed misses at the free-throw line, and another from 30 feet away, saved the 76ers.

A fourth-quarter spurt gave the Sixers enough to fend off the Dallas Mavericks, 100-98, Tuesday at Wells Fargo Center.

Vince Carter didn’t make it easy, using a flashback from the past to keep Dallas competitive until the final whistle. The Mavericks, trailing 100-93 inside the final 60 ticks, got a clutch 3-pointer from Carter as the shot clock wound down. Then the aging star spun through the lane for two more on the Mavericks’ next trip up the floor, making it a 100-98 game with 17.4 seconds to go.
Read more »

Monday, November 26, 2012

Eagles fall to Panthers, drop seventh straight


PHILADELPHIA — The last Eagles head coach to lose seven straight games never got a chance to coach them again.

Now it’s Andy Reid’s turn to test Eagles owner Jeffrey Lurie, who wore his overcoat watching the 30-22 loss to the Carolina Panthers Monday.

The Eagles got a huge effort from rookie Bryce Brown, who rushed for 178 yards and two touchdowns, including a 65-yard burst evoking imagery of Adrian Peterson.

But Brown also fumbled the ball away twice, and the Eagles turned the ball over three times on the night while the Panthers were mistake-free.

Cam Newton threw for 306 yards and two touchdowns and ran for two scores to spark the Panthers (3-8), coached by Ron Rivera, who cut his teeth as an assistant coach under Reid.
Read more »

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Notre Dame tops USC, earns BCS title berth

AP Sports Writer

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Theo Riddick rushed for 146 yards and a touchdown, Kyle Brindza kicked five field goals, and No. 1 Notre Dame secured a spot in the BCS championship game with a 22-13 victory over Southern California on Saturday night.

Everett Golson passed for 217 yards as the Fighting Irish (12-0) completed their first perfect regular season since 1988, earning a trip to Miami on Jan. 7 to play for the storied program's first national title in 24 years.

Although they did little with flash on an electric night at the Coliseum, the Irish woke up more echoes of past Notre Dame greats with a grinding effort in this dynamic intersectional rivalry with USC (7-5), which has lost three of four.

Notre Dame's hard-nosed defense appropriately made the decisive stand in the final minutes, keeping USC out of the end zone on four plays from the Irish 1 with 2:33 to play.

Sixers fall to Thunder in overtime

AP Sports Writer

PHILADELPHIA (AP) — No matter how many shots the Oklahoma City Thunder missed, they remained confident about the next one.

Kevin Durant scored 37 points, Russell Westbrook had 30 and the Thunder beat the Philadelphia 76ers 116-109 in overtime Saturday night.

Serge Ibaka added 18 points for the defending Western Conference champions, who've won nine of 11 to go to 10-4.

The Thunder missed their last seven shots in regulation, but got 3-pointers from four different players in OT.

"We weren't making shots at the end, but I like the fact guys continued to stick with each other and trust each other," Thunder coach Scott Brooks said. "Trust isn't a word we throw around loosely. You're not always going to make shots, but if a guy is open, you have to trust he'll make the next one."

Thad Young had a season-high 29 points and career-high 15 rebounds, and Evan Turner scored 26 points for Philadelphia, which has lost two in a row after winning three straight.

Trailing most of the game, the Sixers tied it at 94 on a dunk by Young off an underneath pass by Turner with 5:01 left.

The Thunder regained the lead on Westbrook's driving layup and Durant's 10-footer made it 98-94. A pair of free throws by Lavoy Allen cut it to 98-96. The teams combined for eight misses and three turnovers until Young's layup tied it at 98 with 1:36 to go.

Each team missed its next two shots and Turner deflected away an inbound pass with 3 seconds left to send it to overtime.

That's when the Thunder found their shooting touch from beyond the arc.

"We trust each other. We live and die with those shots. Make the right play and they came up big for us," Durant said. "It's part of the game. You've got to have trust if you want to be a good team. It doesn't matter what. These guys are in the NBA for a reason. They can play. I trust them 100 percent to go make that shot. I think it's going in every time."

Durant scored Oklahoma City's first five points on two free throws and a 3-pointer. Kevin Martin nailed a 3 to extend the lead to 106-100. Westbrook's 3 made it 109-102. Thabo Sefolosha then sent the fans scattering for the exits with another 3 for a 112-104 lead with under a minute left.

"I left my offense in Oklahoma City," said Martin, who was 3 for 16 against Boston and Philadelphia in consecutive games. "We all know what people are doing night in and night out. That's when the trust comes."

The Sixers learned before the game that All-Star center Andrew Bynum is now out indefinitely. General manager Tony DiLeo said Bynum has "bilateral bone bruises and a weakened cartilage state" in his knees. Bynum's target date for returning to basketball activities has been pushed back four times, so the team has to move on without him at least for the immediate future.

"We got the ball out of Kevin Durant's hands a couple of times at the end of (regulation), Sixers coach Doug Collins said. "We had a couple of shots to win the game and ours didn't go. We had some guys play great, great games, fought, competed, played great. Evan, Thad were terrific. Jrue (Holiday) I thought was very aggressive in the first half."

The Thunder led nearly the entire first half, going ahead by 10 on a few occasions. But after Ibaka hit a long jumper to make it 42-32, the Sixers outscored Oklahoma City 17-8 to get within a point at halftime. Jason Richardson started the run with a 3-pointer and made two more during the stretch.

Durant threw down a thunderous dunk to give Oklahoma City an 85-79 lead after three quarters.

Holiday had 10 of his 13 assists in the first half for Philadelphia.

"They made big shots down the stretch in overtime," Young said "When you give guys looks, a lot of open looks, they eventually start lining the ball up and knocking down shots and that's what they did."

Notes: Richardson left with a sprained ankle. ... The Thunder are 19-3 after a loss since the start of last season, including 4-0 this year. ... Julius "Dr. J" Erving presented the ball for the opening tip-off. Erving led the Sixers to their last NBA title in 1983. ... Holiday's 10 assists were a first-half record at the Wells Fargo Center, which opened in 1996. ... The Thunder are 5-0 in the second game of back-to-backs. ... None of Philadelphia's games has been decided by fewer than six points.

Friday, November 23, 2012

LIVE Nottingham vs. Notre Dame

Staff Report
Welcome to our Black Friday live chat of the clash between Nottingham and Notre Dame, two of the best teams in Mercer County.
This is the second year the teams have played on Black Friday, the first where it was scheduled for this day from the beginning.
Last season, the game was moved to this weekend because Notre Dame played a game out in Utah.
Nottingham hosts a second-round playoff game next week at home, while the Irish are wrapping up their season.
Join us right here for all the action.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Jets roasted in Thanksgiving debacle

EAST RUTHERFORD — The Jets must have eaten too much turkey Thursday afternoon, because they all slept through their Thanksgiving night matchup against the New England Patriots.
Without the services of All-Pro tight end Rob Gronkowski but aided by five Jets turnovers, the Patriots were able to break a succession of big plays en route to an easy 49-19 victory. In what might be the stat of the season, New England scored 35 points in the second quarter despite possessing the ball for just two minutes and 30 seconds.
“Obviously, that was a nightmare of a game,” coach Rex Ryan said after the game. “With the combination of turning the ball over five times and blowing coverages, we just got beat.”
In the first quarter, the Jets were able to march into New England territory, but like he has too often this season, quarterback Mark Sanchez made a mental error that cost his team points. Sanchez failed to see Patriots cornerback (and Staten Island native) Steve Gregory lurking on a crossing route, and Gregory came up with the interception.
“He made a great play,” Sanchez said of Gregory’s pick. “I was thinking one thing, and they did another.”
On the very first play of the second quarter, with the Patriots on the Jets 3-yard line, Brady found an open Wes Welker on a flat route to his right for a touchdown. After the play, Kyle Wilson was visibly upset at Ellis Lankster, punching air.
Gregory recovered a Shonn Greene fumble on the next possession, and Brady promptly hit Shane Vereen in the flat, who then broke the play 83 yards for another New England score.
“I can’t explain it, having that many turnovers the way we had them,” tight end Dustin Keller said.
If that wasn’t enough misery, the Jets then made one of the uglier plays you’ll ever see an NFL team make. Sanchez took the snap and turned to hand the ball off to Greene, but Greene had already zoomed by. Play broken, he then tried to scramble but slid into his own offensive lineman, knocking the ball loose. It was scooped up by—who else?—Gregory, who took it for yet another Patriots touchdown.
“I was thinking a different play in my mind, so mental error there,” Sanchez said.
Next kickoff? Joe McKnight fumble, recovered and returned for a touchdown by New England’s Julian Edelman.
Edelman then caught a 56-yard touchdown bomb, completing the 35-point barrage. A 30-yard Nick Folk field goal sent a mock cheer through MetLife Stadium just before the half.
The tryptophan, however, appeared to be wearing off by the start of the second half. After failing to convert a fourth-and-1 on the Patriots goal line, the Jets were able to record a safety on a Stephan Ridley chop block.
Bilal Powell found then found the end zone on a four-yard power run up the middle, completing a four-play, 71-yard drive.
Predictably, however, those fleeting signs of life proved too little and too late. The Patriok took up nearly the next eight minutes with a methodical drive that culminated in a 1-yard Brady sneak, putting the game out of reach and emptying the stadium.
“I honestly don’t know,” said corner Antonio Cromartie, when asked why the defense continued to struggle. “I wish I could answer that for you.”
Jets receiver Chaz Schillens fumbled on the next drive, leading to a Ridley score.
Sanchez found tight end Dustin Keller in the back of the end zone with just over two minutes to play, but the score only served to make the box score look better. The game had already been decided.
Sanchez finished the game 26 of 36 for 301 yards, with a touchdown, an interception and a fumble, while Greene had 71 yards on 14 carries. Brady had 323 yards and three touchdowns on 18 of 28 passing and the touchdown run.
The Jets are now 4-8, good for last place in the AFC East.
“We’re about as wounded as we can be right now, but we’re not dead,” Ryan said.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

LIVE Thanksgiving chat starts at 10 a.m.

Welcome to our Thanksgiving Day high school football chat. We are all over the map with six games covered today and we’ll try and get you the scores of the others.
We’re covering:
Lawrence at Hopewell Valley 10:00
Conwell-Egan at Truman 10:00
Bordentown at New Egypt 10:00
Hamilton at Steinert, 10:30
Burlington Township at Rancocas Valley 10:30
Northern Burlington at Pemberton 11:00
Also we’ll try to check in with: Delran at Cinnaminson, Florence at Riverside and Burlington City at Palmyra.
Join us right here.

Saturday, November 17, 2012

LIVE Saturday chat starts at 1 p.m.; Allentown game at 7

Welcome to the Trentonian's Saturday live chat for Week 1 of the NJSIAA playoffs. We've got four big playoff games - including Allentown under the lights tonight so don't forget to come back after the early games - as well as some consolations as well.
NJSIAA Playoffs
Steinert at Colts Neck, 1 p.m.
Manasquan at Nottingham 1 p.m.
Keyport at Florence, 1 p.m.
Ocean Twp. at Allentown, 7 p.m.
Holmdel at Hamilton, 1 p.m.
Wall at Lawrence, 1 p.m.
Join us right here.

Friday, November 16, 2012

LIVE Friday Football chat starts at 7 p.m.

Welcome to the Trentonian’s live Friday football chat for Week 1 of the New Jersey playoffs and the continuing saga that is the Pennsylvania postseason.
WW-P South hosts its first playoff game under the new lights, and Bordentown looks to upset undefeated Delran to continue their revival season.
NJSIAA Playoffs
Middletown South at WW-P South, 7 pm
Bordentown at Delran, 7 pm
PIAA Playoffs
Pennsbury at Pennridge, 7 pm
Neshaminy at Central Bucks South, 7 pm
Communications Tech at Bristol, 7 pm
Plus we’ll try to keep up with Northern Burlington vs. Point Pleasant Boro and other games of local interest.
Join us right here.


Thursday, November 15, 2012

Nets get by Celtics, sans Rondo

NEW YORK (AP) — Joe Johnson made the tiebreaking basket with 3:03 left, Deron Williams and Brook Lopez each scored 24 points, and the Brooklyn Nets beat the Boston Celtics 102-97 on Thursday night for their fourth straight victory.

Williams had eight assists and made all nine free throws on a night Paul Pierce had two huge misses in the final minute for the Celtics, who played without injured point guard Rajon Rondo.

Johnson finished with 19 points and eight rebounds for the Nets in front of a sold-out crowd of 17,732 that was divided but certainly loud in the tense, final minutes.

Pierce scored 22 points and Leandro Barbosa had 17 in place of Rondo, who was out with a sprained right ankle. Kevin Garnett added 14 points but Boston had its three-game win streak snapped and lost to the Nets for just the third time in the last 21 meetings.

Boston led 79-74 after three before the Nets evened it up at 85 on Jerry Stackhouse's 3-pointer with 6:21 to play. It was still tied before Johnson made consecutive jumpers and Lopez scored on a follow shot for a six-point lead, and the Celtics could never catch up — especially when Pierce missed two free throws with 34.5 seconds left and Boston trailing by three.

Rondo was hurt in the third quarter Wednesday night in a home victory over Utah. Without the NBA leader in assists, averaging 12.6, coach Doc Rivers said the playbook would be reduced because Barbosa didn't fully know the offense yet.

But the speedy Brazilian created for himself just fine, blowing by defenders for layups though finishing with just two assists.

Nets coach Avery Johnson said the Nets needed a breakthrough against a quality opponent such as Boston and was interested to see how far his team had come since the Celtics smashed them 115-85 here in the preseason, a night he felt the longtime Atlantic Division rulers were trying to send a message to his team.

The Nets have definitely closed the gap.

They had led by 20 or more in their last three home games and opened a 13-point cushion early in the third quarter of this one. But Pierce, who had a quiet six-point first half, suddenly got going midway through the period with a 3-pointer and basket as the Celtics fans — still noticeable around the arena though not nearly to the extent as when the Nets played in New Jersey — became more vocal.

When he picked up his fourth foul and Rivers sent Jeff Green to the table to check in for him, Pierce pleaded to stay, Rivers agreed, and Pierce made the gamble pay off with consecutive baskets that gave Boston a 73-71 lead.

The Nets shot out to a quick 11-point lead that was trimmed to 31-26 after one quarter. Brooklyn kept its lead throughout the second quarter, using 15 offensive rebounds in the first half to score 19 second-chance points and build a 59-50 advantage.

NOTES: The Nets made their first regular-season appearance on TNT since Jan. 24, 2008, against Golden State. Marv Albert, who is from Brooklyn and worked for the Dodgers when he was young before later calling games for both the Knicks and the Nets, was the lead announcer. ... Lopez came in averaging 8.2 points in the first quarter and shooting 69.7 percent. He shot 5 of 7 Thursday.

Felton helps keep Knicks perfect

SAN ANTONIO (AP) — Raymond Felton scored 25 points and the New York Knicks stayed undefeated by rallying to beat the San Antonio Spurs 104-100 on Thursday night.

J.R. Smith added 17 points, Jason Kidd had 14 and Tyson Chandler 13 for the Knicks (6-0), who closed on a 22-11 run to remain the NBA's lone unbeaten team.

Tony Parker led San Antonio (7-2) with 19 points and 12 assists. Kawhi Leonard added 16 points and Tim Duncan had 14 points and 14 rebounds.

Smith and Kidd hit consecutive 3-pointers to give the Knicks a 100-95 lead with a minute left.

San Antonio missed seven of its last nine shots and had two turnovers in the final 2 minutes. The Spurs had won 18 of 19 regular-season games against New York.

The late defensive push offset an uncharacteristic start by the Knicks.

After holding their first five opponents to 87.8 points per game, the Knicks allowed the Spurs to set a quick tone when Danny Green opened with consecutive backdoor layups off assists from Parker and Duncan.

The Knicks kept pace behind Felton, who had nine points and two assists in the opening period while shooting 3 for 5 from the field. Felton's first 3-pointer gave the Knicks a 29-24 lead with 2 minutes left in the first period.

Steve Novak and Rasheed Wallace hit back-to-back 3s to extend New York's lead to 45-38 with 7:21 left in the first half. New York opened 6 for 7 on 3s.

DeJuan Blair smiled at Spurs coach Gregg Popovich and gave him a double fist bump before taking the court for his first start of the season. The move paid off. Blair had two points and an assist while denying Carmelo Anthony the ball defensively and hounding the Knicks All-Star into missing his only attempt in the opening 8 minutes.

Anthony appeared frustrated by the lack of touches, shaking his head and laughing when the Knicks rotated the ball away from him late in the second quarter.

Anthony got aggressive after that possession, taking four shots in the final 3 minutes of the first half. He was blocked twice by Duncan under the basket. The first block resulted in Anthony's own follow-up basket and the second led to a 3-pointer by Green with 0.8 seconds that gave the Spurs a 57-55 lead at halftime.

NOTES: Including the playoffs, San Antonio has won 23 of 26 games at home. ... Duncan had his 736th career double-double, extending his lead among active players.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Williams, Johnson help Nets bop Cavs

AP Basketball Writer

NEW YORK (AP) — Deron Williams had 26 points and 10 assists, Joe Johnson scored 25 points, and the Brooklyn Nets beat the road-weary Cleveland Cavaliers 114-101 on Tuesday night for their third straight victory.

Brook Lopez added 23 points for the Nets, who opened a 20-point lead at home for the third straight game, but this time barely let up and beat the Cavaliers for the sixth time in eight meetings after losing nine in a row, mostly during the LeBron James era.

Anderson Varejao scored a career-high 35 points and grabbed 18 rebounds for the Cavaliers, who were wrapping up a six-game, coast-to-coast trip and played much of the game with the urgency of a team that wanted to be home.

They haven't played there since Nov. 2, their second game of the season, and dropped the final four games of the trip to finish 1-5.

Williams and Johnson, perennial All-Stars who have been nicknamed "Brooklyn's Backcourt," put things together for the first time since the Nets acquired Johnson from Atlanta over the summer. Neither had a 20-point game before Tuesday, and Johnson had been shooting only 36.2 percent.

The Nets held Orlando below 20 points in a franchise-record seven straight quarters during a home-and-home sweep and were allowing 90.4 points per game, fourth-best in the NBA. But the offense had been spotty, particularly once they got ahead. They blew a 22-point lead last week in a loss to Minnesota and most of a 20-point advantage Sunday against the Magic.

This time, there was no letup, in part because they just ran by a Cleveland team that didn't have its legs. Brooklyn finished with a 23-8 advantage in fast-break points.

Kyrie Irving had 34 points and eight assists for Cleveland, which started its trip Nov. 3 in Milwaukee, went out to California for two stops, then hit Phoenix and Oklahoma City before wrapping up here. Cavaliers coach Byron Scott told his players Tuesday morning not to let their minds drift to thoughts about being back home, but their defense never showed up in Brooklyn.

Cleveland led after one only because Varejao shot 7 of 8 for 17 points, his highest total in an NBA quarter, helping the Cavs to a 30-29 edge. But the Nets had already started blowing it open by the time he returned a little more than four minutes into the second.

He quickly scored upon re-entering, but the Nets responded with an 8-2 run to open a 48-34 lead. It was 64-42 by halftime. Brooklyn shot 62 percent in the second while holding Cleveland to 5 of 20 (25 percent) and outscoring the Cavs 35-12.

Rookie Dion Waiters missed his first eight shots, then threw up his arms as if to say "finally" when his 3-pointer popped out of the basket and then back in for his first field goal nearly midway through the third. Then it was Varejao's turn to look annoyed, tossing the ball off the backboard stanchion after Lopez beat the Cavs down the floor for a layup that made it 77-53 with 5:16 remaining in the third.

The Cavs finally made a dent late in the third, with Irving scoring 14 points in the period to trim it to 85-75. But he and Varejao started the fourth on the bench as Brooklyn quickly regained control. The Nets reopened a big cushion when Johnson hit two 3-pointers and three free throws in a nine-point flurry over 85 seconds midway through the period.

Notes: Scott led the Nets to their greatest NBA success, trips to the NBA Finals in 2002 and '03 while compiling a 149-139 record from 2000-04. He remembered the move to Brooklyn being discussed when he was there, though delays and lawsuits held up plans to relocate sooner. ... Varejao's previous best quarter was 14 points in the second period against Orlando on Feb. 11, 2010, according to STATS LLC. ... Yankees pitcher CC Sabathia, a frequent spectator at Knicks games, sat courtside.

Knicks keep rolling, top Magic

Associated Press

ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) — In their first four games, the New York Knicks surprised many by consistently performing above preseason expectations and jumping out to an unbeaten start.

Another night and another victory later, the Knicks' breakout beginning doesn't seem to have an end in sight.

Carmelo Anthony scored 25 points, J. R. Smith and Raymond Felton each added 21, and the New York Knicks held off the Orlando Magic 99-89 Tuesday night to improve to 5-0.

The victory extended New York's NBA-best start. The Knicks have won their first five games for the first time since opening the 1993-94 season 7-0 on their way to the NBA finals. The Knicks remain the league's only unbeaten team.

"Defense, we buckled down," Anthony said. "We kind of slowed them down, kept them off the glass rebounding. Once we had a chance to rebound the basketball, get out and make some shots, we didn't turn back from there."

J.J. Redick scored 18 points and Arron Afflalo added 13 for the Magic, who were stunted by 20 turnovers that led to 24 New York points. Orlando dropped its fifth consecutive game and continues to struggle without starters Jameer Nelson and Hedo Turkoglu.

"You have to want to win more, simple as that," Afflalo said. "There's not one man on this team that's going to do it, (we) pretty much have to want it more."

New York coach Mike Woodson has made no secret of the fact that for the Knicks to continue their recent output long-term, keeping his older team well-rested will be a necessity.

A three-day rest following their dominating win over Dallas on Friday was perfect timing for a Knicks squad that played its first three games in just four nights.

It showed against and Orlando team whose younger players were fearless attacking New York early on.

But so much youth on the floor also gave way to some careless mistakes late in the second half. Orlando pulled to 82-80 before the Knicks went on a 13-4 spurt to take a 95-84 lead with 2:36 to play and put the game away.

New York led by just a point at the break, Knicks coach Mike Woodson said that kind of effort wasn't there early.

"We weren't playing hard enough," Woodson said. "You can't just roll the ball out and think because their record indicates that they may not be good or they're struggling as a team — any team can beat you in this league ... We got a few stops, and scored a bucket and we were able to secure the win. But it was a tough victory tonight."

The Knicks will have another break from game action Wednesday before playing at San Antonio Thursday night.

Despite not scoring more than 75 points in none of their previous three losses, the Magic kept pace with the Knicks — who came in as one of the league's top scoring teams.

The Magic's younger players were right in the middle of the action, with rookies Maurice Harkless and Andrew Nicholson knocking down several big shots and making key defensive plays in the third quarter as the Knicks inched back in front and took a one-point lead into the final period.

The Knicks traded the lead with the Magic at the start of the fourth, with Orlando continually able to slip inside the paint.

But along with Anthony's big night, the Knicks were also able to sustain the Magic's efforts as Smith continued his hot streak from the 3-point line, connecting on both of his attempts. He is 13 of 18 overall for the season from behind the arc.

Even with the loss, Magic coach Jacque Vaughn said there still some positives for a team that piecing together lineups at the moment.

"We can't afford to make mistakes, but for me at the end of this game I was pretty proud of our guys and their effort tonight," Vaughn said. "That's a good ball club on both ends of the floor and we made them earn a win tonight."

Trailing 35-25 midway through the second quarter, the Magic used a 16-4 run to move ahead 41-39. Orlando carried that momentum into as 53-49 halftime lead.

In his fourth game of the season since returning to action from offseason sports hernia surgery, Harkless provided a lift off the bench with 10 points in the half.

It helped offset another big scoring half by Anthony, who topped the Knicks with 16 first-half points.

The Magic also outrebounded the Knicks 25-16 in the opening 24 minutes, while getting 34 points in the paint against a larger Knicks front court.

Orlando maintained its edge on the boards but didn't get nearly as many second-chance opportunities in the second half.

Smith said the Knicks are enjoying where they're at right now.

"It's great. It's a great feeling," he said. "We want to keep it going. So we can't get too lackadaisical like we did in that first half."

Notes: Nelson missed his sixth straight game with a strained right hamstring and groin. ...The game was stopped for about 10 minutes between the first and second quarter after Jamie Woode, a former college cheerleader and Magic Stunt Team member, fell during a routine and was wheeled off the floor on a stretcher. She was transferred to a nearby hospital where she was breathing on her own and moving her extremities, according to paramedics who attended to her.

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Sixers win third straight

TORONTO (AP) — After leaning heavily on his starters in Friday’s win at Boston, 76ers coach Doug Collins knew he would need a big effort from his bench to beat Toronto on Saturday night.

In a spectacular second quarter, the Sixers’ reserves gave Collins all he asked for, and more.

Thaddeus Young, Jrue Holiday and Nick Young scored 16 points apiece and Philadelphia beat Toronto 93-83, its fifth victory in six meetings with the Raptors.

Holiday, Evan Turner and Thaddeus Young were all worn down after playing more than 40 minutes Friday. When they flagged, Nick Young, Spencer Hawes and Royal Ivey stepped in and delivered a much-needed dose of energy.

“Our first unit just didn’t have any juice at all,” Collins said. “Our second unit was fantastic and that was the difference in the game.

“That’s what we’re going to have to do, because we have 22 back-to-backs this year,” he added.
Hawes had 12 points and 11 rebounds, Dorell Wright added 15 points and Philadelphia won its third straight, with all three victories coming on the road. It’s the first time the 76ers have done that since February 2003.

“I’m thrilled, 3-0 road trip,” Collins said.

After beating the Celtics 106-100 Friday, the Sixers knocked off another Atlantic Division opponent thanks to a huge second quarter that saw them turn a six-point deficit into a 19-point lead.

“We knew we had to come in and give (the starters) a little boost for that stretch from the end of the first through second quarter,” Hawes said. “I think we did just that.”

Andrea Bargnani led Toronto with 23 points, while DeMar DeRozan had 19. Jose Calderon had 14 points and 11 assists, but the Raptors lost their third straight.

Rookie Jonas Valanciunas had eight points and eight rebounds as Toronto was held to a season-low point total.

The Raptors used a 9-0 run in the first to take a 26-20 lead but the Sixers turned the tables in the second, getting 11 points from Nick Young and using a 12-0 run to outscore Toronto 32-7. Philadelphia led 52-33 at the half.

“We were just knocking down shots and playing hard defense,” Nick Young said. “We brought all the energy we could and we just fed off it.”

Toronto made just two of 20 field goal attempts in the second, while Philadelphia connected on 13 of 18.

“We lost our focus on both ends,” DeRozan said. “We couldn’t score, couldn’t get stops.”

The second-quarter meltdown was a new wrinkle for the 1-5 Raptors, who’ve been working to clean up slow starts.

“We play three quarters and kind of lose it in one, everything we’ve worked for,” Calderon said. “We have to try and do better. We have to play for a full 48 (minutes) or we are not going to be able to beat good teams.”

Bargnani scored eight points in the third as the Raptors closed the gap, and Amir Johnson’s alley-oop at the buzzer cut it to 69-62 heading into the fourth.

DeRozan cut it to six with a free throw to start the final quarter, but back-to-back 3-pointers from Wright restored Philadelphia’s double-digit lead, and ensured the Sixers’ third straight victory in Toronto.

Calderon started at point guard for the Raptors in place of Kyle Lowry (right ankle), while Alan Anderson started for Landry Fields (right wrist). Anderson, however, sprained his left foot late in the third and had to be carried off. He did not return.

The 76ers played without center Kwame Brown (left calf) and guard Jason Richardson (left ankle).

NOTES: Evan Turner led the 76ers with 12 rebounds. ... Lowry, Toronto’s leading scorer, left in the first half of Tuesday’s loss at Oklahoma City and has not played since. Fields, who has been sore for several weeks, saw a hand specialist Friday and is scheduled to see another doctor next week. ... Linas Kleiza returned to Toronto’s lineup after missing the past four games for personal reasons. ... The Raptors wore camouflage jerseys in honor of Sunday’s Remembrance Day holiday. ... The 76ers are 4-0 when leading after three quarters. ... Philadelphia has won three straight in Toronto.

Allentown routs Hightstown in playoff prelude


ROBBINSVILLE – Gaining all the momentum it will need heading into the Central Jersey playoffs next week, once-beaten Allentown scored touchdowns on its first five possessions on Saturday night.
Jay Graber’s Redbirds certainly looked like a team with a solid chance to win a sectional title when it routed Hightstown, 42-7, last night in a game played at the neutral Robbinsville High stadium because Allentown’s field was covered by snow and the game had to be postponed Friday.
With the win, 8-1 Allentown completed its best regular season ever. It will debut in the playoffs next Saturday night, hosting an opponent to be announced by the NJSIAA on Sunday.
It’s the second year in a row Allentown will host a first-round game. Last season, when it made the playoffs for the first time in school history, it played Neptune in the first round and lost in overtime. Neptune went on to win the C.J. III crown by beating Steinert.
Bouncing back from their only loss of the season – two weeks earlier at Notre Dame  the Redbirds could do whatever they wanted. They dominated on both sides of the ball to hand Pete Brescia’s Rams their worst drubbing of the season.
Allentown certainly didn’t look like a team coming off a 15-day layoff as it held Hightstown to minus 12 yards rushing in the first half and just 6 passing.
On offense, the Redbirds were spreading the ball all over. Four different players found the end zone. Tyler Morales got there on an 11-yard pass from Nick Palladino, Mark Duffy on a 9-yard pass from Palladino, while Frank Juba scored on a 1-yard run and Norman Williams on a 5-yard run.
Williams was 11 for 71 rushing in the first half and Palladino 10 for 17 passing for 113 yards.
When Davone Thomas intercepted a Rams pass two plays into the second half, it took the Redbirds just three plays to score and put the mercy rule in effect with a 35-0 lead 2:02 into the second half.
Thomas became the fifth different player to reach the end zone when he scored on a 4-yard run three plays after his interception. Later in the third period, junior Ed Rittenhouse scored on a 24 yard run as Graber emptied his bench.
Kevin Lenart saved Hightstown from being shut out when he caught a 5-yard pass from Dustin Kollman during a stretch when the Rams’ sophomore QB hit on four straight passes for 66 yards.
Hightstown (2-7)   0  0  7  0 -- 7Allentown (8-1)  7  21  14  -- 42   
A – Morales 11 from Palladino (Coln kick)A -  Duffy 9 pass fom Palladino (Coln kick)A – Juba 1 run (Coln kick)A – Williams 5 run (Coln kick)A – Thomas 29 run (Coln kick)H – Lenart 6 pass fom Kollman (Boccanneuga kick)A – Rittenhouse 24 run (Coln kick)

Friday, November 9, 2012

LIVE football chat starts at 7 p.m.

Welcome back to the Trentonian live football chat after a week off due to Hurricane Sandy. We've got the final week of the New Jersey regular season (excluding Thanksgiving) and the beginning of the Pennsylvania playoffs in Bucks County.
Our games covered tonight include:
Rustin at Pennsbury; Communications Tech at Morrisville; Neshaminy at Plymouth-Whitemarsh; WW-P North at WW-P South; Trenton at Notre Dame; Hightstown at Allentown
We'll also be on the lookout for:
Ewing at Delran; Maple Shade at New Egypt; Bordentown at Cinnaminson.
Join us right here at 7 p.m.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Heat rout Nets

AP Sports Writer

MIAMI (AP) — Dwyane Wade scored 22 points on 10 for 14 shooting, LeBron James finished two assists shy of a triple-double and the Miami Heat improved to 4-0 at home for the first time in franchise history by beating the Brooklyn Nets 103-73 on Wednesday night.

James had 20 points and 12 rebounds in only 30 minutes, and Rashard Lewis scored 13 points for the Heat (4-1). Miami — which plays its next six games on the road — has won its four home games by an average of 17.8 points.

Kris Humphries had a double-double by halftime, then was silent in the second half and finished with 11 points and 11 rebounds for the Nets (1-2). Deron Williams scored 14 for Brooklyn, which got 12 off the bench from MarShon Brooks.

The Nets had 19 turnovers, which Miami turned into 31 points.

Miami started 3-0 at home in four other seasons, always falling in the fourth game. Not this time. The Nets held the lead four times in the opening quarter, but all by one point and lasting a total of 2:33.

Other than that, all Miami. The Heat started 3 for 12 from 3-point range, then made seven of their last 12, giving them 40 makes from beyond the arc in their last three games.

Brooklyn didn't lose sight of Miami in the first half, still being within five with less than a minute remaining until the break, before the Heat got late scores from Wade and James to take a 50-41 edge into the locker room.

And as was the case against Phoenix (with a 23-6 run) on Monday, the Heat used the third quarter as the springboard.

It was a 54-46 game after Keith Bogans made a 3-pointer for Brooklyn early in the third, but after that, all Heat. Miami needed just 91 seconds to put together a 10-0 run — two baskets by Wade started it, and 3-pointers from Shane Battier and Mario Chalmers finished it, putting the Heat up 64-46.

The outcome was never again in doubt. Chalmers extended the lead to 20 when he sliced down the lane for a nifty layup with 3:45 left in the third, and James made a stepback 3-pointer as time was running out in the period for what was then Miami's largest lead, 79-56.

By then, the only drama was whether James would get his 33rd regular-season triple-double, which would have been his first since March 29, 2011.

Instead, he remained on the bench in the fourth, the Heat comfortably ahead the whole way.

NOTES: Wade sent his mother, Jolinda, flowers during a second-quarter timeout as a video message played on the overhead scoreboards. ... The Nets were without Gerald Wallace, who missed his second straight game with a sprained left ankle. Brooklyn is hoping he may be able to do more before its game Friday at Orlando. ... Heat F Udonis Haslem was poked in the left eye in the first half, dropping to his knees in pain when he got hit but staying in the game. ... Wade drew laughter after the morning shootaround, pretending he was miffed about Nets part-owner Jay-Z not attending the meeting when the team tried wooing him as a free agent in 2010 — but that the rapper appeared in person for James' sit-down that summer with the team. "True," James said.

Strong defense propels Sixers


NEW ORLEANS — As long as Doug Collins coaches basketball, his list of on-court demands will remain fluid, different from one week, one game, one possession to the next.

Ultimately, he will demand perfection from his 2012-2013 Sixers. For now, he will settle for what he has seen in a 2-2 start to the developing season, including a 77-62 victory Wednesday over the New Orleans Hornets: Acceptable maturation.

“We made a lot of changes this year,” Collins said. “And a lot of the pieces we were counting on are not there yet. But you have to fight the thought that you want to win games early. What I want to see is growth. Are we making progress? That’s what I want to see. And obviously, we want to win the game.”

In a meeting of injury-troubled teams, the Sixers (2-2) used intense defense and willing ball-movement to snap a two-game losing streak. As they have been all season, the Sixers were without center Andrew Bynum, yet Wednesday were also missing 6-11 Kwame Brown and shooting guard Jason Richardson. Brown is battling a nagging calf injury, Richardson a sprained ankle.

New Orleans (2-2) was missing rookies Anthony Davis (concussion) and Austin Rivers (finger), each having been chosen within the first 10 picks of the last draft.

Evan Turner and Jrue Holiday split 28 points to lead the Sixers. Holiday added 12 assists.
The Hornets were held to a franchise-low for points. Twice previously, they had scored 65.

Though they improved their shooting after back-to-back losses to the Knicks, the difference for the Sixers Wednesday was defense. They held New Orleans to 10 third-quarter points, and without a field goal for a stretch of 8:05 that book-ended halftime. The Hornets committed seven third-quarter turnovers.

“We have got to start figuring out what we are going to hang our hat on,” Collins said. “What are we going to hang our hat on every single night? And we need a level of consistency.”

The Sixers continued their recent poor-shooting trend early, making just two of their first 10 shots and shooting 8 for 22 in the first quarter. But by defending with passion and playing unselfishly, they were down just 37-36 at halftime.

Turner, who had shot a combined 5 for 18 in the losses to New York, was 4 for 5 in the first half, with the Sixers shooting 9 for 17 in the second quarter. The Hornets did not have a field goal for the final 3:52 of the first half.

“It’s not about what they do, it’s about what we do,” Turner said. “It’s about how we do it and how we execute. We have to just worry about ourselves right now, to execute and make things easier on ourselves.”

The Sixers’ task was smoothed by the continued improved passing of point guard of Holiday, who had eight first-half assists. Holiday, though, did commit six turnovers in the first 24 minutes.

Among Collins’ plans was to draw the most out of Thad Young, his most consistent player early in the season. Bouncing around inside at both ends, Young would collect six points and seven rebounds before halftime. On a night when he would search for an inside presence, Collins needed such an inside presence, and had at least mild pregame concerns about the matchup of Young and 6-10 Hornet Ryan Anderson.

“That’s a tough matchup,” the Sixers’ coach said. “Sometimes, I think people think of him only as a 3-point shooter. Absolutely not. He can post. He probably has 30 pounds on Thad. We have to be very aware of that matchup.”

As they opened a three-game road trip Wednesday, the Sixers won just abut every matchup. Soon enough, that will prompt Collins to increase his demands.

“Right now, we have a lot of inconsistency,” Collins said. “But if we can get past that, the shooting woes and stuff will take care of itself.”

Monday, November 5, 2012

Eagles make another mess with loss to Saints


NEW ORLEANS — This Eagles loss was the size of a Buick, to borrow the showbiz line.

This 28-13 defeat to the awful New Orleans Saints Monday night at the Sudrperdome may be the last dagger in the Andy Reid-Michael Vick relationship, which entered another weird phase.

During the game @MVFive, the younger brother of Vick, tweeted that he wanted the Eagles to trade his sibling. Who could blame him? Mike Vick was sacked seven times. It wouldn’t be difficult finding critics to agree, assuming Vick is tradable at some point after the season.

The Eagles gave it a shot, Brent Celek fumbling the ball away at the seven-yard line of the Saints with 3:03 left. Celek had the first down but couldn’t hold on.

It would have erased three straight horrific snaps by Demetress Bell, who replaced the injured Todd Herremans at right tackle. Bell got back-to-back penalties and then allowed his man, Cameron Jordan, to sack Vick.

It was that kind of evening.
Read more »

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Raptors top Nets in Barclays opener

AP Basketball Writer

NEW YORK (AP) — Brooklyn made a winning return to major pro sports on Saturday night, as the Nets beat the Toronto Raptors 107-100 in the first game at Barclays Center.

After a fifty-five year wait that was extended a couple of extra days by Superstorm Sandy, the borough finally has a team of its own again, and the Nets think it's going to be a good one.

Brook Lopez scored 27 points and Deron Williams added 19 points and nine assists for the Nets. C.J. Watson finished with 15 points and Joe Johnson had 14.

A sold-out crowd of 17,732 that included entertainers Jay-Z, a part-owner, and wife Beyonce chanted "Brooklyn! Brooklyn!" a few times during the game and loudly at the end, celebrating the name on the front of the shirt much more than the back.

And with good reason. Brooklyn hasn't had a team to cheer since the Dodgers left for Los Angeles in 1957.

Kyle Lowry had 28 points, eight rebounds and eight assists for the Raptors, who fell to 0-2. DeMar DeRozan added 25 points.

The Nets pulled it out after Toronto got within two with 1:17 left, an uplifting end to a difficult week for the city and the franchise.

The Nets were scheduled to open Thursday against the Knicks, but that was postponed at the request of Mayor Michael Bloomberg because travel to Barclays Center would have been difficult and perhaps dangerous with so much of the city's mass-transit system not operating.

The Nets, still practicing in East Rutherford, N.J. this season, were forced to move their midweek workouts to Barclays Center after their practice center was flooded and lost power. Some team members were forced into hotels.

The Manhattan hotel where the Raptors planned to stay lost power, so the team stayed in Brooklyn, instead.

The Nets lined up buses to run from Manhattan on Saturday, and fans got a boost when some subways began running from Manhattan. The storm's effects were evident at the Atlantic Avenue-Barclays Center transit complex — water damage on the floor, escalators shut off — but the building appeared mostly full long before a lively pregame ceremony.

Commissioner David Stern turned boos into cheers when he announced it was honor "welcome Brooklyn, USA to the NBA." Former Brooklyn Dodgers Ralph Branca, and Joe Pignatano, along with Gil Hodges, Jr., whose father was a star with the beloved Dodgers before they moved to Los Angeles, exchanged jerseys with some Nets players.

The Nets are completely rebranded after 35 years in New Jersey, with a new logo, black-and-white color scheme, and a new mascot called "BrooklyKnight" who was introduced.

Most importantly, they think they'll have a fan base. Never truly loved during while bouncing around multiple homes in Jersey after leaving Long Island, Branca said the Nets will find the same loyal fans in Brooklyn that backed the Dodgers.

The Nets believe they've built a playoff team after re-signing Williams, trading for Johnson and re-signing starters Lopez, Gerald Wallace and Kris Humphries. Billionaire Russian owner Mikhail Prokhorov said the Nets have the "best arena in the NBA and a competitive team."

Williams made a jumper for the first Barclays basket, but Toronto shot 62.5 percent in the first quarter and led 35-27. The Nets outscored the Raptors 33-17 in the second and led 60-52 at halftime.

Notes: Wallace hurt his left ankle trying to block a shot in the final minutes and was getting X-rays. ... Nets reserve Josh Childress sat out with a sore left ankle and coach Avery Johnson said he doubted Childress would play Monday against Minnesota, either.

Friday, November 2, 2012

Knicks rout Heat at emotional MSG

NEW YORK (AP) — Carmelo Anthony had 30 points and 10 rebounds, and the Knicks gave suffering New Yorkers something to cheer with a 104-84 victory over the Miami Heat in their storm-delayed season opener Friday night.

In the first sporting event in New York since Superstorm Sandy, the Knicks dominated a game the Heat players weren't sure should even be played with the city still so devastated. But the Knicks hoped they could provide a distraction for a few hours, and fans who were able to watch surely loved what they saw from a team that could barely compete with Miami last season.

Steve Novak, a non-factor against the Heat in last season's playoffs, added 17 points off the bench and Raymond Felton had 14 points and nine assists to begin his second stint with the Knicks.

LeBron James scored 23 points for the Heat, so impressive in a season-opening victory over Boston on Tuesday but never really in this one. Dwyane Wade, who thought the game should be postponed, finished with 15 points and Chris Bosh had 12 points and 11 rebounds.

The Heat beat the Knicks in five games in last season's first round, and at least for one night New York appears to have closed the gap on the champs.

But the focus surrounding this one had little to do with basketball.

Even Knicks players weren't sure what kind of crowd to expect with many New Yorkers in such bad shape and perhaps unable to travel to the game with the city's transit system crippled. But Madison Square Garden was packed and lively from well before the tip right through their loud cheers when Rasheed Wallace, retired the last two seasons, entered with about 3 minutes left.

Anthony took the microphone before the game and thanked fans for coming out, telling them that this was the "most important time for the city of New York to come together as one and build the city back up." There was then a moment of silence for the victims of the disaster.

It wasn't long before it was loud again.

Anthony hit two 3-pointers in a 10-0 run that gave New York a quick 11-point lead, and he followed six consecutive points by JR Smith by pulling up for a long 3-pointer and a 30-12 lead with 1:14 left in the first quarter. Anthony was even further away when he tossed in another 3 at the buzzer, capping his 16-point period and giving the Knicks a 33-17 advantage.

The Heat couldn't get the deficit into single digits in the second, but were within 55-44 at halftime following 13 points from Wade after his scoreless first period. Anthony was 1 of 9 in the second after hitting six of 10 shots in the first.

But he had consecutive baskets in the Knicks' run of seven straight points early in the third, and the lead grew to 75-62 on Novak's 3-pointer with 3:12 remaining in the period. New York was ahead 81-63 headed to the fourth.

The Knicks' scheduled opener at Brooklyn on Thursday night was postponed, and Heat players thought this one would be, too. Wade was so sure the Heat weren't coming to New York that he didn't even bother to pack until after practice Thursday.

Miami flew afterward and finally arrived in New York after a three-hour bus ride from nearby Newark, N.J. Seeing all the traffic as New Yorkers tried to recover, Wade wrote on his Twitter account that the game shouldn't be played, a feeling he reiterated Friday morning after the Heat's shootaround.

"If we're in a car and we're in traffic for three hours, what are other people who are really affected by this, what are they doing? How are they getting around, how are they moving, et cetera?" Wade said. "So it was just like, come on man, we shouldn't be here to play a basketball game. If anything, we should be here to do something to help the city."

He decided Friday to donate his game check, around $210,000 before taxes, to relief efforts.

The Knicks finished 19 of 36 from 3-point range. Wallace made one with 41 seconds left.

Notes: The Madison Square Garden company is donating $500,000 for storm relief and is hosting a telethon on MSG network during the Knicks' game against Dallas on Nov. 9. MSG chairman James Dolan said he was glad Friday's game was taking place, believing it was good for the city and that many people had told him they were either coming or planned to watch on TV. ... The Heat announced Friday they will unveil a banner to commemorate James' gold medal with the U.S. basketball team Saturday before they play the Denver Nuggets. It will be displayed alongside three others for players who won Olympic gold as members of the Heat — Wade, Alonzo Mourning and Tim Hardaway. ... Marcus Camby sat out after missing most of the preseason with a sore left calf. He recently returned to practice, but Knicks coach Mike Woodson said Camby hadn't gone through enough contact workouts.