Hornets hold off Kings; Davis leaves early with ankle injury
Ryan Anderson patiently answered questions after a 27-point performance in the New Orleans Hornets' 114-105 victory over Sacramento on Monday. About 15 feet away, the franchise's prized player was nursing an ankle injury.
After a first half which in which he scored 11 points, grabbed six rebounds and blocked three shots, the Hornets' Anthony Davis sat out the second, after spraining his left ankle in the second quarter. It was the same ankle he injured earlier in the year that sidelined him for 11 games.
However, Davis said he should be ready to play at San Antonio on Wednesday, the first of a grueling stretch in which the Hornets will play nine of 11 games away from New Orleans Arena.
"I landed on (a referee's) foot and rolled it," Davis said, "Pretty sure I should be back. It's fine. "
DeMarcus Cousins led the Kings with 29 points and 13 rebounds, his 19th double-double of the season. Isaiah Thomas scored 20 points, Tyreke Evans 16 and Travis Outlaw 10 for Sacramento, which was playing its first game since it was announced the team would be sold and potentially moved to Seattle. (Details, Page C4)
The Kings were 11-for-40 from the field after the opening three minutes of the first quarter and committed nine turnovers.
"We've got to come out there ready to play," said Cousins, who was held to eight points in the first half. "Giving them that (big) lead, that put us behind, and we were playing catch-up the rest of the game. If we came out early with energy we probably wouldn't have been in that situation."
The Hornets led by 27 midway through the quarter, but with Davis out the Kings were able to cut the deficit to seven.
"We didn't like the sloppy play in the second half but I'm not going to dwell on that," New Orleans Coach Monty Williams said. "The good thing is our guys felt badly about it and that is something that shows character, but at the same time you don't want to see it, giving up a 37-point quarter (the most the Hornets have allowed in the third quarter) and a 29-point quarter after the way the defense played in the first half."
■ James Harden scored 29 points and hit all 10 of his free throws in the fourth quarter as the Houston Rockets rallied to snap a seven-game losing streak, beating the Charlotte Bobcats 100-94. Kemba Walker scored a career-high 35 points for the Bobcats, who set a franchise record with their 15th straight loss at home. The longest home skid in NBA history is 19 straight by Dallas during the 1993-94 season. Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, who was limited by foul trouble, had nine points and four rebounds for Charlotte.
■ The struggling Los Angeles Lakers juggled their starting lineup, moving forward Pau Gasol to a reserve role and replacing him with former Louisville standout Earl Clark.
Coach Mike D'Antoni made the move before Monday night's game against the Chicago Bulls, hoping a quicker lineup would spark a team that had dropped eight of 10. It comes after Gasol scored 25 points in Sunday's loss at Toronto.
Ortiz Jr. wins five more races at Aqueduct
Irad Ortiz Jr. rode five winners Monday at Aqueduct, including a five-length victory aboard 2-5 favorite Clawback in the $73,500 Jimmy Winkfield Stakes for 3-year-olds.
After winning four races Sunday, Ortiz equaled his career-best performance. Ortiz has combined with brother Jose on a 30-for-54 hot streak over the past week at Aqueduct.
The Winkfield was among the most dominant triumphs for Ortiz. Never worse than second, Clawback pulled clear in the lane for his second win in four starts for trainer Rick Violette.
"The trip today was perfect," Ortiz said. "He had a good post, he broke good, and I got a little pressure early on the outside. I asked him a little bit, and he picked it up pretty quick. I went a little fast, but in the end I still had a lot of horse."
Jose Ortiz leads the inner track jockey standings with 41 wins, while Irad Ortiz Jr. is second with 38 victories.
■ Renee's Titan rallied to win the $150,000 Santa Ynez Stakes by three-quarters of a length as a 20-1 long shot at Santa Anita in Arcadia, Calif. Ridden by Tyler Baze, Renee's Titan ran 6½ furlongs in 1:16.14 while ending a six-race skid.
Beholder, who won the Eclipse Award for juvenile fillies last weekend, wound up second in her 3-year-old debut.
"She just got a little tired, I'd say," trainer Richard Mandella said about Beholder. "She had a nice trip."
Serena next for up-and-comer Stephens
Sloane Stephens has heard a lot of advice from Serena Williams. Pointers on her groundstrokes, and even on her grunts.
It's been mostly gentle encouragement, occasionally spiced with headline-making comments from Williams, who has predicted the 19-year-old American will one day top the women's rankings.
As Stephens learned earlier this month, though, it's one thing to play with Williams, another to play against the 15-time Grand Slam champion. When they meet Wednesday at the Australian Open, Williams will have the experience of 34 previous Grand Slam quarterfinals behind her. With a comeback 6-1, 3-6, 7-5 win over Bojana Jovanovski, Stephens qualified for her first quarterfinal at a major tournament.
"It will be tough, obviously. It's quarters of a Grand Slam," Stephens said. "There won't be that, like, first time, 'Oh, my God, I'm playing Serena.' That's kind of out of the window now. So that's good."
Williams and defending champion Victoria Azarenka advanced Monday, losing just four games between them against Russian rivals. Williams beat No. 14 Maria Kirilenko 6-2, 6-0, and Azarenka defeated Elena Vesnina 6-1, 6-1.
Li Na advanced to the semifinals with a 7-5, 6-3 victory over fourth-seeded Agnieszka Radwanska, ending the Polish player's 13-match winning streak to start the year.
■ On the men's side, No. 2 Roger Federer won 6-4, 7-6 (4), 6-2 over big-serving Milos Raonic, advancing to the quarterfinals at a Grand Slam for the 35th consecutive time, while Andy Murray took advantage of Gilles Simon's fatigue for a 6-3, 6-1, 6-3 victory.
Girls' high school basketball
Feldhaus stars for Madison Central
The Madison Central girls, ranked seventh in Dave Cantrall's Rating the State, led Lexington Catholic by 17 early in the third quarter and went on to win 60-51 at Richmond. Ashton Feldhaus led the Lady Indians (16-3) with 25 points and eight rebounds, and Larryn Brooks had 20 points, eight assists and four rebounds. Octavia Wilson scored 10 points to go with eight rebounds and seven assists for the Lady Knights (8-10).
■ Nannilena White had 15 points, seven assists and five steals in Franklin County's 59-35 victory at home against Casey County. Raven Timmons added 10 points, 12 rebounds and three steals for the Lady Flyers.
■ Sarah Price had 10 points, 17 rebounds and seven blocked shots to help Bath County defeat visiting Bourbon County 58-54.
The last word
Tennis great Martina Navratilova was among the many irked that cyclist Lance Armstrong lied about doping for so many years. The 18-time Grand Slam singles champion said she didn't watch Armstrong's TV interview with Oprah Winfrey because she'd already made up her mind about him:
"There is no justification for what he did. Lying about it with such conviction for so many years, suing people and winning and just denying it so many times. I mean, it takes some serious ego to be able to do that. Clearly, he has a big ego. He should never be able to compete anywhere at any level. If it was just a one-time deal, OK, but every year he raced, he was cheating. It's unimaginable."