Saturday, December 29, 2012

Batum, Lillard help Blazers down Sixers

Associated Press

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — Nicolas Batum had 22 points, eight assists and seven rebounds, Damian Lillard added 20 points and the Portland Trail Blazers beat the Philadelphia 76ers 89-85 on Saturday night for their eighth straight victory at home.

J.J. Hickson had 16 points and 13 rebounds for Portland. LaMarcus Aldridge added 16 points.

Jrue Holiday had 29 points, nine assists and nine rebounds to lead the Sixers, who have lost eight of 10. Thaddeus Young added 17 points.

Portland led 84-76 late in the game, but Young made two big baskets, including a three-point play to cut the lead to three. Spencer Hawes and Dorell Wright missed 3-pointers for the Sixers, however, and Batum hit three of four free throws to seal it.

Lopez leads Nets past Cavs

AP Basketball Writer

NEW YORK (AP) — Brook Lopez scored a season-high 35 points and grabbed 11 rebounds, and the Brooklyn Nets improved to 2-0 under interim coach P.J. Carlesimo by beating the Cleveland Cavaliers 103-100 on Saturday night.

Lopez followed his 26-point, 11-rebound performance in a victory Friday over Charlotte by shooting 13 of 20 from the field, making a number of timely baskets in the fourth quarter that the Nets ultimately needed to hold on.

Deron Williams and Joe Johnson each scored 15 points for the Nets, who fired coach Avery Johnson on Thursday and followed with two victories over losing teams. But now, they head off for major tests at San Antonio and Oklahoma City.

CJ Miles scored 33 points and made eight 3-pointers for the Cavs, but Kyrie Irving capped a miserable shooting night when his tying 3-point attempt went in and out. He finished with 13 points on 5-of-16 shooting.

Tristan Thompson added 17 points and 15 rebounds for the Cavaliers, who played without center Anderson Varejao because of a knee injury. He had a career-high 35 points and 18 rebounds in the previous meeting in Brooklyn and perhaps could have slowed Lopez, who fouled out rookie Tyler Zeller.

Carlesimo is trying to prove that if the Nets can't lure top priority Phil Jackson out of retirement, they should keep him.

Carlesimo had a chance to spend time with owner Mikhail Prokhorov and other team officials Saturday during a lunch meeting. Then he picked up another victory, with Prokhorov watching from his box above midcourt and part-owner Jay-Z from his courtside seat right next to the Nets' bench.

The Nets got off to another strong start, as they did in Friday's 97-81 rout of Charlotte, but couldn't sustain it this time.

After their 15-point lead was cut to one early in the fourth quarter, the Nets seemed to have regained control when they went ahead 92-81 with 7:07 remaining. But Miles nailed two 3-pointers around a pair of free throws, cutting it to five, and the Cavs eventually got it down to 100-97 on Thompson's follow shot with 47 seconds to go.

Irving missed on a drive, then followed Williams' free throw with a 3-pointer that cut it to 101-100 with 5.9 seconds to play.

Johnson made two free throws and Irving got a good look from straightaway, staring at the basket in disbelief when the shot didn't stay down.

Carlesimo provided little details of the lunch meeting with Prokhorov, beyond that they ate at a Greek restaurant in Manhattan. Carlesimo said they talked about food and a little about the team over about two hours in his first extended conversation with Prokhorov. Asked what he learned about his boss, Carlesimo said: "I think if we would keep winning games, that would be good. He definitely prefers winning."

Carlesimo kept his sense of humor about the situation, responding to a question about Jeff Van Gundy's candidacy by saying: "I told Mikhail today in no uncertain terms I didn't want him talking to anybody." But he was serious when asked if the ability to make any list of coaching candidates meaningless by winning games, as Mike Woodson did last season with the Knicks, was available to him.

"I think it's available. I think we need a win and there's also coaches that are available and that's not something I have any control over," Carlesimo said, adding that the Nets played well Friday and would "just go at it like one day at a time and let's see what's going to happen."

Lopez had the first five points of a 13-0 run that turned a 15-13 game into a 28-13 Brooklyn lead. He shot 7 of 8 for his 15 points in just 9 minutes, then Miles scored 13 second-quarter points in pulling the Cavs to 61-53 at halftime.

Cleveland cut it to 79-74 after three.

Notes: Irving was averaging 37.5 points in New York this season. He had 34 in his first game here and a career-high 41 in a loss to the Knicks on Dec. 15. ... The Nets again played without forward Kris Humphries because of an abdominal strain. ... The loss left Cleveland's Byron Scott at 399 wins, remaining one shy of becoming the eighth active coach with 400.

Reading stuns Titans in Trenton

For The Trentonian

TRENTON -- One step forward, two steps back.

After getting out to a 2-0 lead through the first two periods, the Titans gave up three third-period goals and suffered a devastating 3-2 loss to the Reading Royals on Saturday night.

There was a time when Trenton would have been  satisfied with one win in three games against what Titans head coach Vince Williams has frequently referred to as "the best team in the league" -- especially given that each contest was decided by just one goal -- now is clearly not that time.

"We're 100 percent not (satisfied)," Williams said.  "We're on the way up, but they're a solid team from the net out, there's no question.  That's why they're where they're at...we have to out-execute a team like that, and when we have our opportunities to put it away, we have to."

Trenton quickly put its collective skates to the throats of the Royals in the first period, staking itself to a 2-0 lead within the first 2:41.

Stephen Schultz put his stamp on the game early, needing just 14 seconds to put the Titans on top.  Schultz, still wearing a full shield after losing four teeth after getting high-sticked in the mouth two weeks ago, tipped a great Kelly Zajac feed from the left-wing corner past goaltender Philipp Grubauer to put Trenton up 1-0.

Schultz did it again just 2 minutes and 23 seconds later, again with a little help from Zajac.  The Devils farmhand intercepted a brutal pass from a Royals defenseman in the offensive zone and fired a quick shot on goal that Grubauer stopped.  He couldn't thwart Schultz's effort on the rebound, and Trenton had a quick 2-0 lead.

The tide slowly started to turn after Trenton turned in a poor effort on a five-minute major power play in the first period, unable to truly put away their bitter rivals. That wouldn't start to show itself until the third period, when Reading's continuous pressure on  goaltender Scott Wedgewood finally started to pay dividends.

Just 2:39 into the final frame, Royals defenseman Denny Urban started the stunning turnaround with a right point slapshot through traffic that found the twine. Ian O'Connor tied it just four and a half minutes later, but the game seemed headed to overtime until Yannick Tifu changed everything.

Tifu, who has been a thorn in the side of Trenton hockey teams for years, outworked the Titans on a 2-on-4 and threaded a perfect wrister just under the crossbar and past Wedgewood, who could do nothing to stop it.  Thanks to a Bryant Molle delay of game penalty with under two minutes to go, Trenton had its chances late, but Andy Bohmbach couldn't finish on a fantastic cross-ice feed from Matt Mangene, and Grubauer robbed Jacob Cepis in front of the net with just 25 seconds left to seal the win.

"We scored two goals early, which was great for us, but on the other side we thought we won the game already a little bit," Wedgewood said.

"We didn't push as hard as we wanted to. We didn't get as many shots after that in the first, the second we did a little bit, and the third we just didn't sustain anything in their end. ... When you're up by two going into the third, people say it's the worst lead in hockey, but you've just got to be smart in your own end."

Notes: After Friday night's 132 penalty minute debacle, in which Royals head coach Larry Courville said referee Chris Pitoscia "lost control" of the game and Williams described his actions as "panic mode," the ECHL sent an officiating supervisor, Jim Doyle, to Trenton at the last minute.

Correction: In Friday's story, Trenton forward Jake Drewiske was inadvertently misidentified as having sparked the second of two ugly brawls.  It was, instead, Justin Taylor, whose actions earned him an indefinite suspension and hearing with the league next week.  The Trentonian apologizes for the error.

Friday, December 28, 2012

Sixers fall in Golden State

OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) — David Lee had 25 points and 12 rebounds and the Golden State Warriors held off a late charge in the fourth quarter to beat the Philadelphia 76ers 96-89 on Friday night.

Jarrett Jack added 16 points off the bench while Carl Landry had 15 points and 11 rebounds for the Warriors, who nearly blew a 20-point lead in the second half before securing its first win over the Sixers in more than two years.

Philadelphia pulled to 84-80 on Royal Ivey's 3-pointer with 6:23 left to play before Lee scored six straight as part of his 19th double-double this season to help Golden State pull away.

Jrue Holiday had 21 points and 10 assists for Philadelphia. The Sixers have lost eight of 10 on the road.

Johnson's late 3 fells Knicks

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — James Johnson made a 3-pointer at the buzzer Friday night, lifting the Sacramento Kings to a 106-105 victory over the New York Knicks after blowing an early 27-point lead.

With time running out, John Salmons found Johnson above the top of the key and Johnson's shot left his had just ahead of the final buzzer. The shot helped the Kings avoid a collapse after building a big lead late in the first half.

Marcus Thornton scored 18 points and Johnson had 17 for the Kings.

The Knicks played their second straight game without injured Carmelo Anthony, who leads all Eastern Conference scorers, averaging 28.5 points per game. Anthony has a hyperextended left knee and his hoping to return Jan. 1 when the Knicks play Portland at home.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Turner hurt as Sixers lose fifth straight

HOUSTON (AP) — James Harden had 33 points and seven assists to lead the Houston Rockets to a 125-103 victory over the Philadelphia 76ers on Wednesday night.

Harden topped 20 points for the seventh straight game to send the 76ers to their fifth straight loss. He made 17 of 18 free throws, including six in the fourth quarter, as Houston improved to 9-2 in its last 11 home games.

Toney Douglas heated up in the fourth quarter for the Rockets, hitting five 3-pointers and scoring all 17 of his points.

Reserve Nick Young scored 21 points to lead Philadelphia, which matched its most lopsided loss of the season. The 76ers also lost by 22 points against the Knicks on Nov. 5.

Evan Turner left the game in the fourth quarter with an injury. The Sixers are still withouh Jrue Holiday and Andrew Bynum is yet to play.

Carmelo returns, helps Knicks beat Nets

NEW YORK (AP) — Carmelo Anthony scored 31 points in his return to the lineup, and the New York Knicks beat the Brooklyn Nets 100-86 on Wednesday night in the third meeting this season between the city rivals.

After two tight games in Brooklyn, the Knicks turned the first one at Madison Square Garden into a rout by dominating the second half. Anthony, who missed two games with a sprained left ankle, moved fine and shot well, though his scoring average against the Nets this season actually dropped to 37 points per game.

J.R. Smith added 19 points and Tyson Chandler had 16 points and 12 rebounds for the Knicks, who bounced back from their first home loss Monday against Jeremy Lin and Houston, improving to 11-1 at MSG.

Joe Johnson scored 17 points for the Nets, who have lost three straight and eight of 10. What once was a deadlock for the Atlantic Division lead after the first meeting is now a six-game advantage for the Knicks.
Read more »

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Holiday-less Sixers drop fourth straight

DALLAS (AP) — O.J. Mayo scored 26 points, Chris Kaman added 20 and the Dallas Mavericks snapped a three-game losing streak by beating the Philadelphia 76ers 107-100 Tuesday night.

Mayo and Kaman scored 17 of Dallas' last 19 points to help the Mavericks win their seventh straight at home against the 76ers.

Dorell Wright scored 25 points and Spencer Hawes had 18 for the 76ers, who lost their fourth straight game. Philadelphia point guard Jrue Holiday, the team's leading scorer at nearly 19 points per game, missed his third straight game with a sprained left foot.

Dallas point guard Derek Fisher left the game with 6:50 left in the first quarter with a strained right knee and did not return. Fisher, who wasn't expected to play because of the flu, went down to the ground after having his shot blocked by Evan Turner. The 17th-year guard walked slowly to the locker room.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Giveaways hurt big time as Eagles keep on freefalling


PHILADELPHIA — The Eagles led at the half last night but literally couldn’t hang on in a 34-13 loss to the Cincinnati Bengals at Lincoln Financial Field.

In a game that chased away fans as well as TV viewers, the Bengals turned five Eagles giveaways, including four fumbles, into 31 of the easiest points imaginable.

The Birds even blocked one of their own punts, which has such a high degree of difficulty special teams coach Bobby April might want to get ready for the dreaded phone call.

It was that kind of night for Eagles head coach Andy Reid, whose team exited with 34 turnovers, most in the league. That’s 2.4 giveaways per game.

It was the ninth loss in the last 10 games for the Eagles who, with a 4-10 record, are in double-digit losses for the first time in seven years.

Rookie quarterback Nick Foles threw an interception. Jeremy Maclin, Bryce Brown, Clay Harbor and Cedric Thornton, a defensive tackle, all fumbled.

Thornton tried to field a short Bengals kickoff. Harbor’s miscue resulted only in a field goal.

Twenty-four of those Bengals points came in a span of 3-minutes, 30-seconds beginning late it the third quarter.

The score could have been more lopsided but Bengals head coach Marvin Lewis, a buddy of Reid, didn’t kick a field goal on fourth down at the six-yard line of the Eagles late in the game.

Ironically the Eagles were in such complete control in the first half Lewis wouldn’t even allow Andy Dalton to throw a Hail Mary. Instead quarterback Dalton, who had been stripped of the ball twice in the pocket, knelt down at his 18-yard line to kill the clock.

The Eagles’ third quarter was a disaster.

Leon Hall picked off Foles’ underthrown deep ball and returned it 44 yards to position Dalton for an 11-yard scoring run. Dalton also ran for a first down inside the 15-yard line.

Then Bryce Brown fumbled and defensive end Wallace Gilberry returned it 28 yards for a touchdown giving the Bengals (8-6) a 24-13 lead with 21 seconds left in the third quarter.

With 21 ticks left Clay Harbor fumbled. It set up a 32-yard field goal by Josh Brown 48 seconds into the final frame to give the Bengals a 27-13 lead.

Next Thornton’s gaffe on the kickoff enabled A.J. Green to haul in a five-yard TD pass from Dalton.
Thereafter Lewis showed mercy on Reid, who 14 years ago asked him to be his defensive coordinator. Lewis ordered running plays.

The Eagles handed the Bengals a 10-0 lead in the first quarter by virtue of Maclin’s fumble and a botched protection on a punt in which rookie Marvin McNutt was pushed into his own guy, punter Mat McBriar.

It wasn’t surprising in that the Bengals start fast while the Eagles typically sputter out of the gate. The Birds have been outscored 85-24 in the first quarter on the season.

But after zero takeaways in 21 quarters, the Eagles got two in the second frame, both of which referee Carl Cheffers confirmed on instant replay.

The first turnover came when Brandon Graham got a piece of Dalton, who was about to release the ball, and Cole recovered at the 29-yard line of the Bengals with 9:42 left in the first half.

It was the Birds’ first takeaway in 22 quarters, the first since their Monday night loss to New Orleans.

It set up a 22-yard field goal by Alex Henery that knotted the score at 10 with 7:37 left in the first half.

Then it was Cullen Jenkins grabbing the arm of Dalton in almost exactly the same moment in the windup and Darryl Tapp returning the fumble four yards to the 12-yard line to set up a 23-yard field goal by Henery giving the Eagles a 13-10 lead with 17 ticks left in the first half.

Earlier in the second quarter Foles fired an 11-yard scoring pass to Riley Cooper, who leaned over the end zone with 11:40 left in the first half to pull the Eagles within 10-7.
Foles’ 46-yard pass to Maclin set it up.

The TD pass marked Foles’ fourth scoring pass against no interceptions in his last three games. Foles had three picks and just one TD pass in his first three NFL appearances.

The Eagles lost guard Evan Mathis (ankle), Clay Harbor (hamstring) and fullback Stanley Havili (hamstring) to injury.

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Manziel first freshman to win Heisman

NEW YORK (AP) — Johnny Football just got himself a way cooler nickname: Johnny Heisman.
Texas A&M quarterback Johnny Manziel became the first freshman to win the Heisman Trophy, taking college football's top individual prize

Saturday night after a record-breaking debut.

Notre Dame linebacker Manti Te'o finished a distant second and Kansas State quarterback Collin Klein was third in the voting. In a Heisman race with two nontraditional candidates, Manziel broke through the class barrier and kept Te'o from becoming the first purely defensive player to win the award.

Manziel drew 474 first-place votes and 2,029 points from the panel of media members and former winners.

"I have been dreaming about this since I was a kid, running around the backyard pretending I was Doug Flutie, throwing Hail Marys to my dad," he said after hugging his parents and kid sister.
Read more »

Sixers fall to Celtics in second game of home and home

BOSTON — The Sixers filtered from their locker room with four minutes remaining in halftime.

Did it really take 11 minutes to convey how desperately they needed to make shots? Probably not. In fact, the Sixers would’ve been better served having spent the intermission taking in some extra shooting practice.

In the long run, it wouldn’t have helped.

By the time the Sixers finally took the lid off the rim at TD Garden, Boston already had built an insurmountable lead. The Celtics came away with a 92-79 win Saturday night, despite a late rally from the visitors.

The Sixers enjoyed one of their most-productive 12-minute stretches of the season, shooting 14-for-20 in the third quarter to close a once 21-point game to eight points. But it didn’t cover over a bumpy first half in which they missed all but nine of 39 shots.

When the Sixers (11-9) cut their deficit to eight, at 65-57, the Celtics (11-9) responded nicely by making their next five attempts.
Read more »

LIVE state football finals chat

Staff Report
It’s the final day of high school football at, and three of our area teams are vying for state championships.
Florence battles Shore Regional at 10 a.m. for the Central Jersey Group I crown at 10 a.m.
Nottingham takes on Neptune in the Central Jersey Group III final at 1 p.m.
And in South Jersey Group III, it’s Delsea and Northern Burlington at 4 p.m.
Stick with us all day or check in and out to get the updates on all the big games.
Join us here for all the action.

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Melo-less Knicks blow out Heat in Miami

MIAMI (AP) — Raymond Felton scored a season-high 27 points, and the New York Knicks connected on 18 3-pointers to more than offset the absence of Carmelo Anthony while topping Miami for the second time this season, beating the Heat 112-92 on Thursday night.

Steve Novak scored 18 points, J.R. Smith added 13 and Tyson Chandler scored 13 for the Knicks, who won their fifth straight and moved 1½ games clear of Miami for the best record in the Eastern Conference.

Anthony sat out, one night after needing five stitches to close a cut on the middle finger of his left hand.

LeBron James nearly picked up his second straight triple-double — 31 points, 10 rebounds, nine assists — in Miami's second straight loss.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

TCNJ men see home woes continue


EWING — Who could blame Kelly Williams if he tried to get some of his upcoming home games moved out of Packer Hall?

The way his College of New Jersey Lions are playing — and shooting the ball at home — visiting teams seem to have an advantage playing inside the TCNJ gym.

At least Rutgers-Camden did on Wednesday, when it took advantage of a 7-minute second-half stretch when the Lions didn’t hit a field goal, and came away with a 68-63 N.J. Athletic Conference win — the third straight home loss for Williams’ 2-5 Lions.

The Lions don’t have to look deep on the stat sheet to find out why they remained winless at home and fell to 1-3 in the NJAC. They shot 18 for 60 overall, including 8 for 23 from  3-point range.

After Matt Rista’s 3-pointer gave TCNJ a 31-30 lead 42 seconds into the second half the Lions didn’t get another field goal until Mitch Miller converted a back-door layup at 12:15. That’s seven minutes without a field goal, which allowed Rutgers-Camden team to go up 47-40, a lead that was eventually cut to 66-63 in the final minute before the Lions’ comeback hopes were ended by three late RC free throws.

“With a young team you don’t know what you’re going to get game in and game out, and even from possession to possession,” said Williams. “I thought we had good looks, and the reality is you have to be able to knock down good shots, and we didn’t.

“We didn’t shoot well tonight and had a couple of missed defensive assignments that eventually came back to haunt us.

“But the reality is we just haven’t shot the ball well at home, unfortunately. It was 18 for 60, and a lot of them were clean looks. Hopefully we’ll keep getting the clean looks, and they’ll start going in,” said Williams.

The Lions shot a shade better in the second half (10-for-33), but RC was 15 for 24 from the floor at he same time, which helped them survive. Alex Fox led three Lions in double figures with 11 despite shooting 3 for 11, while Jayson Johnson added 10 on 4 for 15 shooting. The only double-figure scorer who shot well was Zach Friedrich, who drained both of his 3-pointers to finish with 10.

Smith's late jumper fells Bobcats

AP Sports Writer

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) — With Carmelo Anthony nursing a sore finger, the New York Knicks turned to J.R. Smith for the last shot and he delivered.

Smith hit a fallaway jumper from the left wing as time expired to give the Knicks a 100-98 victory over the Charlotte Bobcats on Wednesday night.

Anthony scored 20 of his 23 points in the first half, but went cold in the second half and wasn't on the floor for the final 2:10 after injuring his right hand diving into the Knicks' bench for a loose ball.

Knicks coach Mike Woodson said Anthony received five stitches in the middle finger of his right hand.

Tyson Chandler had 18 points and 17 rebounds for the Knicks. Smith finished with 13 points.

Kemba Walker had 25 points and 11 rebounds for the Bobcats (7-10), who have lost five straight games since equaling last season's win total. Gerald Henderson scored 11 of 18 points in the fourth quarter in his second game back after a 13-game layoff.

The Bobcats appeared in position to win late in the game after a miss by Raymond Felton with 14 seconds left, but rookie Michael Kidd-Gilchrist made an ill-advised pass toward the top of the key and Smith stepped in front of it to intercept it.

After a timeout, Smith drove to the left side and hit an 18-footer over Kidd-Gilchrist.

Anthony came in averaging 30.6 points over the past six games and sharp early, hitting seven of his first 11 shots from the field for 20 points.

But he missed his first 10 shots of the second half.

Anthony drove hard to the lane at one point and put up a layup but was blocked by Bismack Biyombo, who gave him the Dikembe Mutumbo finger wag as Anthony pleaded for a goaltending call. Anthony didn't hit his first field goal of the second half until 2:35 remained in the game.

A few seconds later he chased down a long rebound into the Knicks bench and was taken to the locker room.

Walker, who has made a major improvement from his rookie season, kept attacking the rim.

On one third quarter drive, he electrified the crowd by faking out a defender near the top of the key, driving the left side of the lane before spinning awkwardly in the air and laying it off the glass and drawing a foul on Steve Novak for a three-point play.

The Bobcats led 53-51 despite 20 first-half points from Anthony.

Charlotte got a strong performance from Walker and Ben Gordon, who continued his red-hot shooting in the early going. Gordon came in having made 18 of 26 3-point attempts over the past three games and hit a pair in the first half.

Walker continued to play well at home with 12 points and six assists before the break.

NOTES: Kidd-Gilchrist was selected by the NBA as the Eastern Conference rookie of the month for November. ... Panthers quarterback Cam Newton was a guest of Bobcats owner Michael Jordan in his owner's suite. ... The Bobcats had a little fun with New York's Chris Copeland on the big screen, comparing him to Baylor women's star Brittney Griner on the celebrity lookalike cam.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

T'Wolves rough up Sixers


PHILADELPHIA ­— Shaking his head, with no options left, Doug Collins rose from his seat and
emptied his bench.

In the third quarter. With his team trailing by eight possessions.

Minnesota had everything going for it, and the Sixers didn’t. It was one of those nights that Collins would rather forget. The Timberwolves issued a 105-88 beatdown Tuesday of the Sixers, who have lost two in a row.

Evan Turner took 20 shots to score 19 points, Thad Young had only two rebounds and Jrue Holiday paired 13 points with nine assists for the Sixers, who were sent off the court to a cascade of boos.

This one got ugly in a hurry, and Minnesota did so without Kevin Love on the floor for a majority of it.
The Timberwolves (8-8), who had lost six of eight games, got off to a torrid start from the floor and never looked back. They had staked a 13-point lead after 12 minutes, at 34-21.

How bad did it get for the Sixers (10-8)?

In the second quarter, Lavoy Allen was whistled for a moving screen 30 feet from the basket, Turner was called for offensive goaltending on one of the rare putbacks that actually went in and the NBA’s worst 3-point-shooting team was putting on a clinic at Wells Fargo Center.

And all of that took place without Minnesota playing Love. The dominant forward, a double-double machine, spent nearly the entirety of the second quarter on the bench, watching his teammates blow open the game.

The Timberwolves went on a 10-0 run in 76 seconds, scoring at will inside the first minutes of the second quarter to make a manageable game a 44-24 rout. In that span, the Sixers were outrebounded, 6-0, and prompted Sixers coach Doug Collins to call a timeout.

By halftime, the Sixers had given up more points to the Timberwolves in two quarters (65) than they had in four quarters Nov. 7 at New Orleans (62). It was the most points surrendered by the Sixers in the opening half all year, three more than they relinquished in a Nov. 12 loss to visiting Milwaukee.

The statlines spoke for themselves: The Timberwolves’ bench outscored the Sixers at half, 32-4, and Minnesota had outshot the Sixers, 59 percent to 44.

The ugliness persisted, and even amplified, when Luke Ridnour swished a 3-point attempt with nine minutes to go in the third. That gave Minnesota its 11th trey on 18 attempts. So the NBA’s worst-shooting team from beyond the arc, entering the game hitting only 28.6 percent of their looks from long range, was converting from 3-point distance at a 61-percent clip.

The Sixers had waved the proverbial white flag by the midpoint of the third quarter, when Collins went to a lineup that featured offensively anemic Kwame Brown, third-string point guard Royal Ivey and defensive specialist Damien Wilkins in a 22-point game.

Even Arnett Moultrie, the Sixers’ rookie who Collins in pregame had hinted might have a future in the NBA’s Developmental League, made an appearance.

Visit Christopher A. Vito’s Sixers blog at for more coverage.

Monday, December 3, 2012

RG3, Redskins close gap on Giants

LANDOVER, Md. (AP) — Robert Griffin III threw for one touchdown and had a fumble turn into another score, and the Washington Redskins pulled within one game of the NFC East lead with a 17-16 win over the Giants on Monday night.

The Redskins improved to 6-6 with their third straight victory, tied with the Dallas Cowboys and on the heels of the Giants, who have lost three of four to fall to 7-5.

Griffin completed 13 of 21 passes for 163 yards and ran five times for 72 yards, breaking Cam Newton's NFL record for yards rushing by a rookie quarterback.

Griffin lost the ball on one of his runs, but it flew into the arms of teammate Joshua Morgan, who ran it in for an early touchdown.

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Eagles fall to Cowboys


ARLINGTON, Texas — Way back in the day, Andy Reid beat the Dallas Cowboys for his first NFL victory.

The way the Eagles blew up in a 38-33 defeat Sunday night, you have to wonder if he’ll win with them again.

The Eagles gave it everything they had – including a 98-yard punt return by rookie Damaris Johnson with 31 seconds left - and it still wasn’t enough. That against a Cowboys team so full of holes it needed to win a challenge over a spot to secure the victory.

It was the eighth straight setback for the Eagles, tied with the Arizona Cardinals for the longest such skein in the league.

The last Eagles team to play so poorly was the 1968 group that started 0-11 for Joe Kuharich.
If the New York Giants beat the Washington Redskins Monday night, the Eagles are mathematically eliminated from the playoffs.

With a 3-9 record and four games remaining Reid has locked up his third losing system. Moreover he’s 11-17 (.393) in his last 28 starts and with a 139-99-1 (.584) in 14 seasons, just one loss short of the century mark.

The backbreaker was Cowboys tight end Jason Witten’s 36-yard reception over Nate Allen for a first down at the four-yard line of the Eagles.

Two plays later Dez Bryant took a quick pass from Tony Romo and ran through Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie for a touchdown with 5:35 remaining giving the Cowboys their first lead.

It was Romo’s third scoring pass of the evening and the 16th against the Eagles in the last six games, all under defensive coordinator Todd Bowles. The Eagles haven’t intercepted a pass in those games.

Cowboys cornerback Morris Claiborne provided the insurance points returning Bryce Brown’s fumble 50 yards for a score.

Johnson’s punt return heightened the drama although the try for two points, and the ensuing onside kick both failed.

Brown scored two touchdowns and rushed for 107 of his 169 yards to give the Eagles a 17-10 lead at the intermission.

The Eagles had a solid game plan requiring rookie Nick Foles, who threw for 251 yards and a touchdown, to read only half of the field.

Reid had a strong game on the sideline as well, winning a challenge and edging counterpart Jason Garrett, who also has been accused of poor clock management and use of timeouts, on a strategic level.

It was tough, for example, to gauge what was more shocking – that Reid had all three timeouts on the Eagles’ final possession of the first half or he used them artfully to set up a 43-yard Alex Henery field goal at the buzzer. That wiped out the momentum of a late Cowboys touchdown march cutting the score to 14-10 with 41 ticks remaining.

The Eagles took the lead in the first quarter and until the final frame were never headed.
Each time the Cowboys answered the Eagles retaliated.

Romo led the Cowboys on a seven-play, 80-yard march ending with a 23-yard scoring catch-and-run by Bryant, knotting the score at 17 with 11:18 remaining in the frame. Bryant juked the Eagles into blocking each other on the play. Romo broke Troy Aikman’s Cowboys record with his 166th scoring pass.

But Foles got the Eagles right back on top with an elite 15-yard scoring throw to Riley Cooper, who turned cornerback Brandon Carr around in the end zone. Foles bent the throw around the defender giving the Eagles a 24-17 cushion with 5:27 left in the frame.

The Cowboys made it six straight possessions these teams put points on the board when Miles Austin hauled in a 27-yard pass from Romo after getting away from Rodgers-Cromartie, and breaking a couple more tackles. That tied the score at 24 with 13:41 to go.

The Eagles went right back to work. When the drive stalled Henery booted his 21st straight field goal, a 43-yarder, giving the Birds a 27-24 advantage with 9:51 to play.

But Romo, who was just 23-39 in December before the kickoff, took over the game.

Brown rolled around left end and scored untouched from 10 yards out giving the Eagles a 7-0 lead with 5:38 left.

Brown carried three times for 37 yards. That, after getting slammed for minus-three yards on his first four lugs.

Foles completed two pass attempts for 29 yards.

With Dallas Reynolds shaking off an ankle injury, the offensive line dictated to the Cowboys.

For the first time this season, the Eagles exited the first quarter with the lead.

Brandon Graham made sure they held onto to that lead in the second quarter when on third-and-15 at the Eagles’ 18, he combined with Cole to sack Romo.

Dan Bailey kicked a 39-yard field goal for the Cowboys cutting the lead to 7-3.

Graham entered the game with 1 1-2 sacks. He had 3 after that play.

Brown made it 14-3 with a five-yard run capping a seven-play, 73-yard drive with 6:07 left in the first half.

On the verge of getting embarrassed, the Cowboys battled back with an 11-play, 75-yard drive capped by DeMarco Murray’s one-yard run pulling them within 14-10 with 41 ticks left in the first half.

Witten had four receptions for 61 yards, including the basic bomb where the receiver runs wide open 
through the secondary. Witten was stopped just before the goal line on the 28-yard grab with Nnamdi 
Asomugha and Nate Allen, the closest Eagles, bringing him down.

Foles, in just 35 seconds after the kickoff, marched the Eagles into range for Henery to boot a 43-yard field goal as time expired giving them a 17-10 lead. It was just the third time the Eagles have led at the half all season.

Saturday, December 1, 2012

LIVE football chat at 1 p.m.

Staff Report
We’ve got two big games for our Trentonian playoff live chat today, with Nottingham taking on Long Branch and Northern Burlington battling Burlington Township.
The winners will move on to the state finals next week in their respective groups.
The only winner from the Trentonian area last night was Florence, which beat Point Pleasant Beach.
Join us right here, or on our Trentonian sports blog, or on our Facebook page.