Sports briefs: Jan. 6

January 6, 2013 

NBA

Rondo gets triple-double in Celtics' win against Hawks

Rajon Rondo had 14 points, 11 rebounds and 10 assists, and the Boston Celtics rallied to beat the host Atlanta Hawks 89-81 on Saturday night. Paul Pierce scored 17 of his 26 points in the third quarter as the Celtics erased a 19-point deficit in the second half and went on to consecutive wins for the first time since late November against Oklahoma City and Orlando.

James Harden scored 29 points, including 16 in the fourth quarter, and the Houston Rockets defeated the Cleveland Cavaliers 112-104. Patrick Patterson scored in double figures for the third straight game for Houston. He had 15 points and six rebounds.

Brook Lopez scored 18 points in 17 minutes to lead six players in double figures, and the Brooklyn Nets beat the Sacramento Kings 113-93. DeMarcus Cousins had 28 points and 11 rebounds for the Kings, who had won four of five overall and two straight on the road. It was Cousins' sixth straight double-double.

■ Minnesota Timberwolves forward Kevin Love re-fractured his right hand. The team said an MRI on Saturday revealed that Love re-fractured his third metacarpal in the hand and that he will be examined by a hand specialist in New York.


Horse racing

Pitino's Goldencents wins Derby prep

Goldencents won the $100,000 Sham Stakes by 1½ lengths at Santa Anita on Saturday, giving trainer Doug O'Neill a promising 3-year-old on the Triple Crown trail a year after he saddled I'll Have Another to victories in the Kentucky Derby and Preakness. Ridden by Kevin Krigger, Goldencents ran one mile in 1:36.50.

Den's Legacy was second, while Manando was a half-length farther back. Both are trained by Bob Baffert, a three-time Kentucky Derby winner. Krigger said Goldencents was bumped on the inside by Den's Legacy at the start of the race, when Manando and jockey Martin Garcia went to the lead.

"That made me have to ride a smart race by taking him back and putting him on the outside," Krigger said. "He's always been relaxed, but he was so relaxed that I could ride him confidently from behind, too. He's doing everything right. We're keeping our fingers crossed and praying that he stays sound."

Krigger is following in the footsteps of Mario Gutierrez, who like Krigger, was mostly unknown in the sport when he started riding I'll Have Another. O'Neill encouraged Krigger to call Goldencents' owners and make a case for himself as the colt's regular rider.

"The owners fell in love with him, just like Goldencents has," O'Neill said. "The good thing about Kevin is, win, lose or draw, you know you have him for upcoming races. He's not going to jump around. Some of the higher-standing guys, it's difficult to have any continuity with a horse. Kevin's really gotten to know this colt and he's done a brilliant job every race."

Goldencents has three wins in four starts, with his only loss coming to Shanghai Bobby in the Champagne Stakes last fall at Belmont Park. The colt is co-owned by Louisville basketball coach Rick Pitino.

O'Neill said he would consult with Pitino and the colt's other owners before deciding on Goldencents' next race.

"If he stays injury-free, we'll get there," he said. "We're all pumped up."

Vyjack wins Aqueduct's Jerome Stakes

Vyjack held off long-shot Siete de Oros by a head Saturday in the $200,000 Jerome Stakes, the first major race of the season for 3-year-olds at Aqueduct. Trained by Rudy Rodriguez, Vyjack improved to 3-for-3 with the latest victory, all at the New York track. Unlike his earlier decisive wins, Vyjack had to work hard for this one. Siete de Oros made a strong run up the fence turning for home to take the lead, threatening to pull off a 41-1 upset. Vyjack, the even-money choice, fought back in the final strides to keep his record intact.

In the supporting stakes, Princess of Sylmar easily took the $100,000 Busanda for 3-year-old fillies by 7½ lengths. Chris DeCarlo rode for trainer Todd Pletcher as Princess of Sylmar posted a third straight win.

Hard Not to Like returned from an eight-month layoff to beat Channel Lady by a half-length in the $100,000 Marshua's River turf stakes for fillies and mares at Gulfstream Park in Florida. Racing for the first time since sustaining a knee chip in May in the Kentucky Oaks, Hard Not to Like ran 11⁄16 miles in 1:41.70.


High school basketball

Henry Clay boys rout Woodford County

Jordan Green scored 23 points and grabbed seven rebounds to help Henry Clay, ranked fourth in Dave Cantrall's Rating the State, get back on the winning track with an 86-65 win Saturday against visiting Woodford County. The Blue Devils lost in overtime to No. 5 Scott County on Friday night.

Gerard Newby added 16 points and six rebounds and Campbell Setzer hit three three-pointers to end up with 12 points against the Yellowjackets. Eli Boggess had a team-high 22 points for Woodford County.

Larry Morton scored 18 points and Tyler Smith had 11 points and 12 rebounds in Bryan Station's 53-44 victory against visiting Taylor County.

Austin Cummins hit six three-pointers to account for all 18 of his points in Anderson County's 61-50 win at Sayre. Martin Durmov led the Spartans with 19 points, nine rebounds and three blocks, and Justin Sanders had 10 points, 10 rebounds and five assists.

Dominique Hawkins scored a team-high 14 points in No. 10 Madison Central's 66-51 win against visiting Conner.

Girls' highlights:

Lakeena Parks scored 19 points and had three steals, and No. 19 Paul Laurence Dunbar started pulling away midway through the third quarter to defeat host Lafayette 56-47. Shakeema Jackson added 17 points, six assists and three steals for the Lady Bulldogs.

DaiJia Ruffin scored 24 points to go with 13 rebounds, five assists and five steals and No. 24 Sacred Heart won 63-41 at No. 16 Newport Catholic.


NFL

Panthers sticking with Rivera

Ron Rivera will return as coach of the Carolina Panthers next season following his team's strong finish. Panthers spokesman Charlie Dayton said Rivera met with owner Jerry Richardson Saturday morning and was informed that he will return for a third season. Rivera has two years on his current contract.

Richardson fired longtime GM Marty Hurney after a 1-5 start and informed Rivera at the time the Panthers needed to be "trending upward" the rest of the season. The Panthers went 6-4 from that point out, including four straight wins to close the season.


Golf

Weather postpones PGA opener again

For those who think the PGA Tour season never ends, here's a new twist: This one can't get started. The season-opening Tournament of Champions was postponed for the second straight day because of gusts that topped 40 mph and made it impossible to play golf. Unlike the previous day when 24 players managed to tee off, no one hit a shot Saturday on the Plantation Course at Kapalua in Hawaii. The season now starts Sunday — that's when most tournaments end — with hopes of playing 36 holes, followed by an 18-hole finish Monday.

The last word

Slugger White, the PGA Tour's vice president of rules and competition on the weather conditions at Kapalua in Hawaii:

"On the 10th hole, we dropped a ball on the back of the green and it rolled 20 yards off the front."

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