Sports briefs: Jan. 21

January 21, 2013 

NBA

Pistons rout Celtics 103-88

Rookie Andre Drummond had 16 points and seven rebounds, and the Detroit Pistons returned from Europe with a 103-88 victory over the Boston Celtics on Sunday night.

The Pistons lost to the New York Knicks in London on Thursday, but they didn't look particularly weary in their first game back. Detroit blew an 18-point second-quarter lead but pulled away again in the second half. Boston never led.

Former Kentucky point guard Brandon Knight fared better in Sunday's game than he did in London. After getting only one point and one assist in 18 minutes against the Knicks, Knight had 15 points, six rebounds and five assists. Tayshaun Prince added 14 points and four rebounds.

Kevin Garnett scored 16 points for Boston, and Rajon Rondo had eight points, 15 assists, nine rebounds and nine turnovers.

■ Veteran forward-center Chris Andersen, nicknamed Birdman, signed a 10-day deal with the Miami Heat on Sunday and worked out with his new club for the first time. For a team that's looking for rebounding help, Andersen — who hasn't appeared in an NBA game since playing with Denver last March — could help.

"Typically, you're not able to get a player of his caliber at this time of year," Heat Coach Erik Spoelstra said. "But three years ago he was the best in the game coming off the bench at his position, as a shotblocker and a rebounder. We've always liked him."

The Heat and former Kentucky standout Josh Harrellson have parted ways, at least for now.

"A very tough decision, a very tough decision," Spoelstra told the South Florida Sun-Sentinel newspaper about Harrellson not signing a second 10-day contract with the team. "That might not be the end of his future with us."


Tennis

Djokovic needs 5 sets to beat Wawrinka

The opponent was different, the match three rounds earlier. Still, the result gave Novak Djokovic a familiar feeling, and another chance to rip off his shirt in celebration. Djokovic needed just over 5 hours to beat Stanislas Wawrinka 1-6, 7-5, 6-4, 6-7 (5), 12-10 in a fourth-round match Sunday night at the Australian Open, on the same court where he needed 5:53 to beat Rafael Nadal in last year's finals.

"I just had flashback of 2012," Djokovic said. "It was maybe 45 minutes less this match than the one 12 months ago, but still it was still as exciting. I tried to enjoy the moment and couldn't ask for more. What a match point ... unbelievable."

He wasn't exaggerating about the match point. On his third attempt to end it, his backhand cross-court shot zipped past the valiant Wawrinka, who, Djokovic conceded, had outplayed him for most of the night.

"He came up with great tactics today," Djokovic said. "He didn't give me a lot of the same rhythm that I could get into the match. He was the one being in charge. I was passive. "

The win was Djokovic's 18th in a row at Melbourne Park after winning the last two Australian titles and advanced the Serbian star to the quarterfinals of his 15th consecutive major tournament.

■ After twice failing to win her breakthrough major as the No. 1-ranked woman at the Australian Open, Caroline Wozniacki is now expected to drop out of the top 10 after a fourth-round loss to a resurgent Svetlana Kuznetsova on Monday. Wozniacki had the top ranking for the 2011 and 2012 editions of the season's first major, but lost in semifinals two years ago and the quarterfinals last year.

Her 6-2, 2-6, 7-5 defeat to two-time Grand Slam winner Kuznetsova in the Round of 16 this time follows back-to-back first-round exits at Wimbledon and the U.S. Open.


Golf

Donaldson overtakes Rose at Abu Dhabi

Jamie Donaldson won the Abu Dhabi Championship by one shot Sunday, with Justin Rose narrowly missing a birdie putt on the 18th that would have forced a playoff. Rose's 8-foot putt rimmed out of the hole, giving the Welshman his second European Tour victory. He shot a 68 to finish at 14-under 274.

Rose (71) threw his club up in the air in frustration while Donaldson flashed a relieved smile. Rose tied for second with Thorbjorn Olesen (69) of Denmark, who also failed to force a playoff on the 18th when his 15-foot birdie putt rolled past the hole. Olesen, playing with Rose, had putted first.

"It was a tough field, brutal golf course," said Donaldson, whose win will move him in into the world's top 30.

It was fifth-ranked Rose's tournament to lose. The Englishman had a two-shot lead over Donaldson and Olesen and led all week, hitting greens and making timely putts. But he was shaky from the start Sunday, scrambling early to save pars and then hitting errant drives on Nos. 5, 11 and 16 that led to bogeys, while finding it difficult to read the greens.

"It was definitely hard work today," Rose said. "You want to close out with a chance to win when you have it and didn't do that today. But I didn't do a lot wrong, either."

Brian Gay won the Humana Challenge on Sunday at La Quinta, Calif., for his fourth PGA Tour title, beating Charles Howell III with a 5 1/2-foot birdie putt on the second hole of a playoff.


College football

Oregon promotes its offensive coordinator

Oregon hired Mark Helfrich as its football coach Sunday, promoting him from offensive coordinator to be Chip Kelly's successor.

Helfrich's promotion does not come as a surprise. Before Kelly left for the NFL's Philadelphia Eagles on Wednesday, the Ducks' quarterbacks guru was considered the front-runner for the position.

Oregon, ranked No. 2 in the final AP Top 25, went 12-1 this season, capped by a victory over Kansas State in the Fiesta Bowl.


High school basketball

Assumption slips past Sacred Heart

Dee Dee Stiltner made a pair of free throws with four seconds left to lift Assumption, ranked ninth in this week's Dave Cantrall's Rating the State, to a 50-48 victory against visiting No. 20 Sacred Heart on Sunday. Stiltner scored a game-high 20 points and teammate Nora Kielser had 11 points, 12 rebounds and six blocked shots.

■ Late Saturday night, the top-ranked Ballard boys lost 53-52 to No. 3 Louisville Trinity in the finals of the Louisville Invitational Tournament. Kentucky Mr. Football James Quick hit the winning free throw for the Shamrocks, the Courier-Journal reported. He had 19 points, six rebounds and five steals.


The last word

Stanislas Wawrinka said he gave it his all in a five-set loss to two-time defending Australian Open champion Novak Djokovic:

"For sure, I think the best match I have ever played. I fought like a dog like always. At 4-4 in the final set, I thought I might have won the match, but he was just better."

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