Sports briefs: Feb. 7

February 7, 2013 


No Rondo, again no problem: Celtics 5-0 without ex-Cat

Kevin Garnett scored a season-high 27 points with 10 rebounds, Paul Pierce had 12 points and 11 rebounds, and the Boston Celtics won their fifth straight game by beating the host Toronto Raptors 99-95 on Wednesday night.

The Celtics remained unbeaten since losing former Kentucky guard Rajon Rondo to a season-ending knee injury.

Former Wildcat Eric Bledsoe had 27 points, including 19 in the second half, and the Los Angeles Clippers used a big third quarter to secure an 86-76 win over the host Orlando Magic.

Los Angeles Lakers forward Pau Gasol will be sidelined indefinitely after sustaining a tear of the plantar fascia in his right foot.


Two Central Ky. players sign with UK

DeStinie Graves, who helped Tates Creek win the state soccer championship and was named Kentucky's Miss Soccer, signed with the University of Kentucky on Wednesday.

Sam Miller of East Jessamine signed with the UK men's soccer program. Miller, who earned all-state honors as a sophomore and junior, missed most of his senior season after having knee surgery.

Jerry Bengston took advantage of a defensive mix-up to score the go-ahead goal in the 79th minute, and Honduras rallied to beat the United States 2-1 Wednesday in the opener of the final qualifying round for next year's World Cup.

Clint Dempsey put the U.S. ahead in the 36th minute but the Americans, using a new-look defense, gave up the lead when Juan Carlos Garcia tied the score in the 40th at San Pedro Sula.

Bengston, who plays for Major League Soccer's New England Revolution, scored the winner when defender Geoff Cameron and goalkeeper Tim Howard both went for a pass by Maynor Figueroa to Oscar Boniek Garcia, who tapped to Bengston for an open-net shot.


Reds, Leake seal one-year deal

The Reds have agreed to a one-year, $3.06 million deal with right-hander Mike Leake, avoiding salary arbitration with their fifth starter. The deal leaves three Reds still facing arbitration: starters Mat Latos and Homer Bailey and outfielder Shin-Soo Choo.

Leake made $507,500 last season, when he went 8-9 with a 4.58 earned run average in 30 starts, a career high. He will compete with left-hander Aroldis Chapman for a spot in the rotation.

The Reds have their three priciest arbitration cases pending. Choo is seeking $8 million, Bailey $5.8 million and Latos $4.7 million.

The Reds and radio flagship 700 WLW have renewed their rights agreement to broadcast games through 2017.

"There's been no greater marriage than Reds radio and WLW radio," said broadcaster Marty Brennaman. "And it's great for our fans to know that this relationship will continue."

On the eve of his farewell season, five-time Colorado Rockies All-Star first baseman Todd Helton was charged near Denver with drunken driving and careless driving. Helton said he's embarrassed and apologized to his family, the team and the community. "I humbly ask your forgiveness," he said.

A rare 148-year-old baseball card discovered at a rural Maine yard sale has been auctioned for $92,000 in Biddeford, Maine.

The card isn't the same as a modern-day baseball card, which became common in the 1880s. Rather, it's an original photograph from 1865 mounted on a card, showing nine players and a manager.


Bengals make Jackson coach of RBs

The Cincinnati Bengals have moved assistant coach Hue Jackson into a new role, giving him the job of replacing the retired Jim Anderson as running backs coach.

Jackson was an assistant defensive backs coach last season. The Bengals hired Adam Zimmer — son of defensive coordinator Mike Zimmer — to fill that role on Tuesday. Jackson was Oakland's head coach in 2011 but was fired after an 8-8 finish. The Raiders traded with the Bengals for quarterback Carson Palmer during that season but failed to make the playoffs. He was rehired as an assistant in Cincinnati, where he was the receivers coach from 2004-06.

Donald Driver, the popular Green Bay Packers wide receiver, on Wednesday celebrated his 14-year career during a retirement party at Lambeau Field with family, friends, a handful of teammates and 1,500 fans. Driver, who caught 743 passes for 10,137 yards after making the team as a seventh-round draft pick out of Alcorn State in 1999, said, "Twelve years ago, I signed my first big contract for the Green Bay Packers and I promised you all that I would never wear another uniform. So today, we make that official."


Seattle star Jackson out entire season

Three-time WNBA MVP Lauren Jackson of the Seattle Storm will miss the entire 2013 season while she continues to rehab her surgically repaired hamstring. The team said her contract will be suspended and she is expected to return in 2014. "We support Lauren's decision to take time off ... ," said Storm Coach and GM Brian Agler. "Lauren is the best player in the world at her position so it will be impossible to replace her but we are moving forward."


Ligety fills U.S. void with super-G title

With Lindsey Vonn injured and Bode Miller already out for the season, it's Ted Ligety's turn to lead the U.S. ski team.

A day after Vonn's season-ending crash at the world championships, Ligety showed off his rapidly improving speed skills in Schladming, Austria, to win the first super-G of his career.

"It's definitely (tough) losing those teammates that have been so good over so many years and really carried the flag of the U.S.," Ligety said. "But it's an individual sport, too. You're out there competing for yourself."

Building on his giant slalom skills, Ligety surprised even himself Wednesday. He took a lot of risks in the turning final section and mastered the Planai course in 1 minute, 23.96 seconds.

Larry Morton and Marcellous Washington combined for 33 points as the Defenders turned back host Franklin County 62-59 in boys' high school basketball. Jordan Henry added nine points and six rebounds. Ryan Schneider led the Flyers with 17 points.

Kyle Larson, a highly touted 20-year-old driver from Elk Grove, Calif., will drive full time this season in NASCAR's second-level Nationwide Series, his team announced Wednesday.

Veteran team owner Chip Ganassi is overseeing Larson's fledgling NASCAR career, and Ganassi helped Larson reach a deal to drive the No. 32 Chevrolet for the Nationwide team of Turner Scott Motorsports. "Kyle's shown an uncanny ability to really drive anything ... " Ganassi said. Larson has driven a variety of midget cars, sprints and other "open-wheel" cars with considerable success, drawing plaudits from stars Jeff Gordon and Tony Stewart. Last year, Larson drove stock cars for the first time and promptly won the title in NASCAR's lower-level K&N Pro Series East.

Venus Williams has withdrawn from next week's Qatar Open because of an ongoing lower back injury.

The 23rd-ranked Williams has been hampered by back problems since the Australian Open. She missed the Open GDF Suez tournament and will skip the upcoming Fed Cup match against Italy because of the injury. Williams lost in straight sets to Maria Sharapova in the third round of the Australian Open and then lost in the quarterfinals of the doubles alongside younger sister Serena.

The last word

Even basketball star LeBron James was impressed by Mississippi's football recruits: He tweeted:

"Ole Miss ain't messing around today! Big time recruits coming in. SEC is crazy."

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