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Scoreboard Roundup – 3/31/15

Scoreboard Roundup – 3/31/15

Hemera/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- NBA:  Detroit Pistons 105 (29-45) – Atlanta Hawks 95 (56-19)

Brooklyn Nets 111 (33-40) – Indiana Pacers 106 (32-42)

NHL: Boston Bruins 3 (39-25-13; 91pts) – Florida Panthers 2 (35-27-15; 85pts)

Columbus Blue Jackets 3 (37-35-4; 78pts) – New Jersey Devils 2 (31-33-13; 75pts) OT

Washington Capitals 4 (42-25-10; 94pts) – Carolina Hurricanes 2 (28-37-11; 67pts)

Toronto Maple Leafs 3 (29-42-6; 64pts) – Tampa Bay Lightning 1 (47-24-7; 101pts)

Ottawa Senators 2 (38-26-12; 88pts) – Detroit Red Wings 1 (40-23-13; 93pts)

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Phil Jackson Makes Plea to Knicks Fans

Phil Jackson Makes Plea to Knicks Fans

Jim McIsaac/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- In the midst of the worst season in franchise history, New York Knicks executive Phil Jackson made a plea to Knicks fans that better days are ahead.

Jackson sent a letter and video message to season ticket holders about the state of franchise.

"While I know this has been a challenging season for our team on the court, I can also tell you that everyone in the organization is working tirelessly to get our Knicks back to a place where we are once again competing at the highest level," Jackson said in the video.

"We have made key roster moves to free up significant cap space that will provide us greater flexibility to acquire talent in this summer's free agency," Jackson continued. "And for the first time in many years, we expect to have a top pick in the NBA Draft this June.

"These are key steps to building a roster of players that have both the talent and character to win in New York and who, alongside Carmelo Anthony, will become a team that can become a consistent winner," he added.

Entering Wednesday, the Knicks are 14-60, which is the worst record in the NBA.

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Bulls’ Derrick Rose Returns to Practice, Return Date Still Unknown

Bulls’ Derrick Rose Returns to Practice, Return Date Still Unknown

NBA via Chicago Bulls(NEW YORK) -- With the NBA Playoffs roughly two weeks away, reinforcements could be coming for the Chicago Bulls as point guard Derrick Rose has returned to practice.

Rose returned to full-contact activities in practice for the first time since he had surgery on February 27 to repair a torn meniscus in his right knee.

“He was good today,” Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau said after practice. “A little winded, which is to be expected. Body on body, full court. But it will come. The more he does that, the faster it will come.”

Despite the improvement in health, it's unknown just when Rose will return.

“We can’t jump ahead,” Thibodeau added. “He’s been out a long time. So he’s got to work his way through it. We have to concentrate on getting everyone ready.”

Recovering from his third knee surgery in as many years, the former MVP has missed 17 games this season. In 46 games this season, Rose is averaging 18.4 points, 5.0 assists, and 3.1 rebounds per game.

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Rockets’ Patrick Beverley to Undgergo Wrist Surgery, Out for Rest of the Season

Rockets’ Patrick Beverley to Undgergo Wrist Surgery, Out for Rest of the Season

Jed Jacobson/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- James Harden will have to continue carrying the Houston Rockets on his back as injuries have struck the team again. The Rockets announced that starting point guard Patrick Beverley will miss the rest of the season with a wrist injury.

Beverley will undergo surgery to repair a torn ligament in his left wrist. He had originally opted to not have the procedure, but ultimately decided it was the best course of action.

"We'll miss Pat in a lot of different ways," Rockets coach Kevin McHale told reporters. "He brings a lot of toughness. He's been really good for us slowing down guys the last couple of years. But we'll use all the resources we have and figure out what we need to do that night."

Beverley is just the latest member of the Rockets to miss time due to injury. Dwight Howard, Terrence Jones, and Donatas Motijuanas have all miss extended time this season.

Despite the injuries, the Rockets have the third-best record in the Western Conference.

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Penguins Letang Released from Hospital

Penguins Letang Released from Hospital

iStockPhoto/Thinkstock(PITTSBURGH, Pa.) -- Pittsburgh Penguins defenseman Kris Letang was released from the hospital Sunday and diagnosed with a concussion after a scary collision in Saturday's game against the Arizona Coyotes.

Letang lay on the ice in a disoriented state when he fell backwards into the boards after a check by Coyotes winger Shane Doan.

"I just went to make sure I got a piece of him so he couldn't jump by me and he obviously went into the boards awkward," Doan said.

"You never ever want to see anyone like that, especially a guy with his caliber and everything he's went through in the past couple years," he added. "You feel awful as a player when something like that happens." 

Letang has a history of concussions and suffered a stroke last season, in what doctors attributed to a small hole in his heart.

Currently, there is no scheduled date for Letang's return, according to coach Mike Johnston.

“We'll see how he feels over the next few days and go from there,” Johnston said.

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Red Sox Send Catcher Vasquez to DL, Uehara May Follow

Red Sox Send Catcher Vasquez to DL, Uehara May Follow

Major League Baseball(BOSTON, Ma.) -- The Boston Red Sox have sent catcher Christian Vasquez to the 60-Day disabled list after being diagnosed with a right elbow sprain.

Vasquez was sent to Dr. James Andrews for a second opinion after an MRI discovered a problem in the right elbow of the 24-year-old catcher.  In a corresponding move, the Red Sox acquired catcher Sandy Leon from the Washington Nationals.

The Red Sox were expected to employ both Vasquez and Ryan Hanigan, whom the team acquired from the San Diego Padres in exchange for third baseman Will Middlebrooks, as a platoon for the team's catching position.

Additionally, the team's closer Koji Uehara will likely start the season on the disabled list after the 39-year-old felt tightness in his hamstring upon concluding a 30-pitch bullpen session.

"I don't know when I'll be back," Uehara said through interpreter C.J. Matsumoto. "It's a day-to-day process. I have to do what I have to do to get ready."

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Portland Trail Blazers Clinch Playoff Spot

Portland Trail Blazers Clinch Playoff Spot

Christopher Trotman/Getty Images(PORTLAND, Or.) -- The Portland Trail Blazers are headed back to the NBA playoffs for the second straight season.

With a 109-86 victory over the Phoenix Suns Monday night, the Trail Blazers clinched a playoff spot and will now seek to claim the Northwest Division title.

Seemingly from the start, Portland set out to dominate the game. The Trail Blazers led by 27 at the end of the third period, and five players finished with double digit points.

"I'm not even sure the last time we even won a division title," said Damian Lillard, who scored 19. "I'm sure it's been tough having OKC around. If any year there was a great opportunity, it's this year. We just need to keep playing, focus on ourselves, and everything will work out like it's supposed to."

Portland currently has a 6.5 game lead over the Thunder for the Northwest Division and the two teams will face off on April 13.

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Eagles Sign Miles Austin to One-Year Deal

Eagles Sign Miles Austin to One-Year DealScott Boehm/Getty Images (PHILADELPHIA, Pa.) -- The Philadelphia Eagles have signed wide receiver Miles Austin to a one-year deal, according to NFL Network. The deal is worth $2.3 million, with an opportunity to earn $700,000 in incentives, according t...

Scoreboard Roundup 3/30/15

Scoreboard Roundup 3/30/15

Hemera/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- NBA:  Boston Celtics 116 (33-41) – Charlotte Hornets 104 (31-42)

Los Angeles Lakers 113 (20-53) – Philadelphia 76ers 111 (18-57)

Atlanta Hawks 101 (56-18) – Milwaukee Bucks 88 (36-38)

Toronto Raptors 99 (44-30) – Houston Rockets 96 (50-24)

Memphis Grizzlies 97 (51-24) – Sacramento Kings 83 (26-47)

Utah Jazz 104 (33-41) – Minnesota Timberwolves 84 (16-58)

NHL: Tampa Bay Lightning 5 (47-23-7; 101pts) – Montreal Canadiens 3 (47-22-8; 102pts)

Vancouver Canucks 4 (44-27-5; 93pts) – St. Louis Blues 1 (46-23-7; 99pts)

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Browns GM Ray Farmer Suspended Four Games

Browns GM Ray Farmer Suspended Four Games

NFL(NEW YORK) -- The National Football League suspended Browns general manager Ray Farmer without pay for the first four games of the 2015 regular season on Monday for sending text messages to team personnel during games in 2014. The league also fined Cleveland $250,000.

Farmer’s suspension will begin on the midnight of the Sunday before the Browns’ Week 1 contest and concludes following the team’s Week 4 game. During the ban, Farmer won’t be allowed to deal with team business or permitted to be at the team’s facilities or games.

“I respect the league’s decision and understand that there are consequences for my actions,” Farmer said in a statement. “Accountability is integral to what we are trying to build and as a leader I need to set the right example. I made a mistake and apologize to Jimmy Haslam, Mike Pettine, our entire organization and our fans for the ramifications. Learning is a big part of who I am and I will certainly be better from this situation.”

According to ESPN, Farmer texted an assistant coach and an unnamed team representative on the sideline that dealt with use of personnel and in-game strategy. 

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Browns GM Ray Farmer Suspended Four Games

Browns GM Ray Farmer Suspended Four Games

NFL(NEW YORK) -- The National Football League suspended Browns general manager Ray Farmer without pay for the first four games of the 2015 regular season on Monday for sending text messages to team personnel during games in 2014. The league also fined Cleveland $250,000.

Farmer’s suspension will begin on the midnight of the Sunday before the Browns’ Week 1 contest and concludes following the team’s Week 4 game. During the ban, Farmer won’t be allowed to deal with team business or permitted to be at the team’s facilities or games.

“I respect the league’s decision and understand that there are consequences for my actions,” Farmer said in a statement. “Accountability is integral to what we are trying to build and as a leader I need to set the right example. I made a mistake and apologize to Jimmy Haslam, Mike Pettine, our entire organization and our fans for the ramifications. Learning is a big part of who I am and I will certainly be better from this situation.”

According to ESPN, Farmer texted an assistant coach and an unnamed team representative on the sideline that dealt with use of personnel and in-game strategy. 

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Seahawks QB Russell Wilson Not Concerned over Contract Situation

Seahawks QB Russell Wilson Not Concerned over Contract Situation

Kevin Casey/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- While Quarterbacks like Tom Brady, Peyton Manning, Drew Brees, and even Joe Flacco are among the highest paid players in the NFL, Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson remains one of the best bargains in the league at $1.5 million, which he'll make next season. It's one of the lowest salaries for a starting quarterback in the NFL, let alone a Super Bowl champion.

Still, with one year left on his current deal, Wilson isn't worrying about a new deal just yet.

“In terms of my contract, I don’t really talk about that kind of stuff,” Wilson told the Everett Herald. “I love the game of football. I love playing the game of football. I try to put my best foot forward and I want to be the best to ever play the game. That’s the way I look at it."

"I’ve been fortunate enough to win a lot of games at such a young age and to be able to play with some great guys and have some great comeback wins and win a Super Bowl, and go to back to back Super Bowls," he continued. "It’s been special. So that’s what I focus on. I focus on the next opportunity that I have. The rest will come."

In just three NFL seasons, Wilson is already considered one of the best quarterbacks in the NFL.

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ESPN: Georgia State Guard R.J. Hunter to Enter NBA Draft

ESPN: Georgia State Guard R.J. Hunter to Enter NBA Draft

Jupiterimages/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- With Georgia State's end-of-season run still fresh in everyone's mind, ESPN reports guard R.J. Hunter will enter the 2015 NBA Draft.

Hunter will reportedly hold a news conference on Tuesday to make the decision official.

Hunter had a very productive collegiate career during his three seasons at Georgia State as he's the leading scorer in school history. While his shooting numbers were down, Hunter did average a career-high 19.7 points, 4.7 rebounds, and 3.6 assists per game. In three seasons at Georgia State, Hunter averaged 18.4 points while shooting .423% from the floor and .354% from the three-point line.

The 14th seed in the tournament this season, Georgia Tech had one of the most memorable upsets of the year when they beat 3rd seeded Baylor.

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Hornets’ Al Jefferson Will Not Be at Full Strength for the Rest of the Season

Hornets’ Al Jefferson Will Not Be at Full Strength for the Rest of the Season

NBA via Utah Jazz(NEW YORK) -- As the Charlotte Hornets fight for there playoff lives with the regular season winding down, they'll have to do it with one of their best players feeling less than 100%.

Head coach Steve Clifford announced that center Al Jefferson will not be fully healthy for the remainder of the season.

“Al is not going to be 100 percent here the rest of the year. He is just not,” Clifford told The Charlotte Observer.

The team's anchor, Jefferson underwent an MRI a couple weeks ago after injuring his knee and calf. No structural damage was found, but Jefferson hasn't been the same player since.

Charlotte has gone 1-5 since and Jefferson has averaged just 15.3 and 7.3 rebounds per game, both below his season averages.

With just ten games left in the regular season, the Hornets are fighting with the Nets, Celtics, and Pacers for the eighth and final playoff spot. Just one game separates the eighth spot in the Eastern Conference, held by the Nets, and the 11th spot in the East, occupied by Charlotte.

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Craig Sager Suffers Leukemia Recurrence

Craig Sager Suffers Leukemia RecurrenceNational Basketball Association(NEW YORK) -- NBA Broadcaster Craig Sager has suffered a recurrence of his Leukemia, according to his son. Sager's son shared the news via his Twitter feed: We wanted to ensure he was taken care of & that we knew what...

Mariners Prospect Passes Away After Boating Accident

Mariners Prospect Passes Away After Boating Accident

Major League Baseball

(NEW YORK) -- Victor Sanchez, a 20-year-old prospect of the Seattle Mariners, lost his life from injuries sustained in a February boating accident, according to the team.

Sanchez reportedly suffered a double skull fracture and brain hematoma after being struck in the head by a propeller while swimming in the Venezuelan coastal town of Campano.

"The Seattle Mariners are saddened to learn of the passing of Victor Sanchez," said Mariners General Manager Jack Zduriencik through a team statement. "Victor was a tremendous young man and a wonderful teammate. He was a very talented player who was close to fulfilling his promise as a major leaguer. He will be missed by his teammates and the coaches and staff at the Mariners. The entire Mariners organization sends our deepest condolences to his family during this difficult time."

Sanchez pitched a 4.19 ERA last season, while earning a 7-6 record for the Mariners Double A club.

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Hamlin Wins at Martinsville

Hamlin Wins at Martinsville

Chris Graythen/Getty Images for NASCAR

(MARTINSVILLE, Va.) -- At NASCAR's famous "slow" track, Denny Hamlin survived the rubbing and racing to take the checkered flag at Martinsville Speedway.

Hamlin outlasted Brad Keselowski in the final five laps, who said he "did everything I could other than wreck him." 

Hamlin remembered Joe Gibbs Racing president, J.D. Gibbs, who was recently hospitalized for "symptoms impacting areas of brain function," after the win.

"We're thinking about J.D. He's the one that gave me my start ten years ago," Hamlin said. "Can't be prouder to put Joe Gibbs racing back in victory lane and they've been with me so long...this is what happens."

The win marks the fifth time Hamlin has entered victory lane at Martinsville and his 25th victory in NASCAR overall.

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Alabama Dismisses DT Taylor

Alabama Dismisses DT Taylor

American Football Field Yard Lines IStockPhoto/ Thinkstock(TUSCALOOSA, Al.) -- The Alabama Crimson Tide have dismissed defensive tackle Jonathan Taylor from the football team after he was arrested on a domestic violence charge, the team announced.

Alabama dismisses DT Jonathan Taylor from team. pic.twitter.com/nX4UkqVlSy

— Ralph D. Russo (@ralphDrussoAP) March 29, 2015

The 21-year-old was taken into custody after a 24-year-old woman called police and said she had been assaulted by her boyfriend. When police arrived there were visible marks on her neck.

Taylor, transferred to the program after being dismissed from the Georgia Bulldogs program last year after being arrested for allegedly striking his girlfriend with a closed fist and then choking her. The case is still pending.

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Kentucky Overcomes Late Deficit to KO Notre Dame, Advance to Final Four

Kentucky Overcomes Late Deficit to KO Notre Dame, Advance to Final Four

Mitchell Layton/Getty Images(CLEVELAND) -- The luck of the Irish ran out.Leading most of the second half, No. 3 Notre Dame slowly watched top-ranked Kentucky come back and eventually take the lead for good when Andrew Harrison made two free throws with six seconds remaining, as the Wildcats edge the Fighting Irish 68-66 to advance to the Final Four of the Men's NCAA Basketball Tournament.Kentucky (38-0) gets to continue its undefeated season with large thanks to the Harrison twins. Aaron Harrison made an NBA range 3-pointer with 3:18 remaining to give Kentucky its first lead since the 15:06 mark of the second half. Notre Dame's Jerian Grant answered Harrison's three with one of his own with 2:36 remaining to put Notre Dame up by two. Karl-Anthony Towns then scored two of his game-high 25 points to tie the contest before the other Harrison hit his free throws to seal the game.Notre Dame (32-6), which had a decided size disadvantage with the Cats, was only outrebounded by one in the loss. It also doubled Kentucky 16-8 in assists.Zach Auguste scored 20 while Steve Vasturia and Grant added 16 and 15 points respectively in a losing effort. Kentucky advances to the National Semifinal in Indianapolis next weekend where it will meet Wisconsin.

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Bruins Ruin Lundqvist’s Return

Bruins Ruin Lundqvist’s Return

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(BOSTON) -- Milan Lucic scored twice to help the Boston Bruins upend the New York Rangers 4-2 Saturday, spoiling goalie Henrik Lundqvist's return to the ice.

Lundqvist, who missed the past seven weeks with a vascular injury, was instantly challenged. Lucic scored just 1:41 into the game when a puck went off his skate and past the former Vezina Trophy winner. Lucic scored again just over seven minutes later when Torey Krug dished the puck to the B's hulking winger, who slapped it between Lunqvist's legs for a 2-0 lead.

"It seemed like everything kind of kept rolling after we got that break on the first goal," Lucic said. "It's good to see us step up and play the way we can play. Right now it's just continuing to recapture what we had here tonight."

The Bruins did receive a scare early in the second period when goalie Tuukka Rask left the game for the locker room. He didn't return to the bench but Bruins head coach Claude Julien said after the game that it appeared Rask was just dehydrated.

"He's scheduled to travel with us, he's scheduled to be with us and he should be fine for (Sunday against Carolina)," Julien said. "We just found out at the beginning of the second (period). I said, `Are you still having those symptoms?' He said, `Yep.' So I said, `Let's get you out of here."

Rick Nash scored his 40th goal of the season for the Rangers (47-20-7, 101pts) in the loss.

With the win the Bruins (37-25-13, 87pts) snap a six-game losing streak and take over sole possession of the final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference.

 

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