LeBron erupts for 51 points in 104-100 win over Magic
This is why so many people cared so much about where LeBron James would take his talents. On Thursday night, he almost single-handedly dominated a team sport.
James scored a season-high 51 points to lead the Miami Heat to a 104-100 win at the Orlando Magic. It still almost wasn't enough.
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The Magic cut a 23-point, fourth-quarter deficit to 103-100 with 10.6 seconds left in regulation, then got the ball back with 10.4 seconds left after a Mike Miller turnover.
Ryan Anderson then missed the potential game-tying three-pointer.
But it was James who sent the Magic to their seventh loss in their last 13 games.
Magic center Dwight Howard played all 48 minutes and finished with 17 points and 16 rebounds. But Howard also missed 10 of his 13 free-throw attempts, looking more unsure at the foul line than he has all season.
James, on the other hand, displayed nothing but confidence. He made his first 11 shots and didn't miss until 4:55 remained in the second quarter. He scored 23 points in the first quarter, a Heat record.
Griffin, 4 Celtics added to All-Star game
Los Angeles Clipper Blake Griffin is going to his first All-Star game, and Kevin Garnett matched an NBA record with his 14th straight selection as one of a record-tying four Boston Celtics headed for the mid-season event. Former Kentucky standout Rajon Rondo, Paul Pierce and Ray Allen will accompany Garnett, who equaled Jerry West, Shaquille O'Neal and Karl Malone for the most consecutive selections. The Celtics joined the 2006 Detroit Pistons as the only teams to have four players picked as reserves by the coaches.
The reserves were selected in voting by the head coaches in each conference. Minnesota Timberwolves forward Kevin Love, who is averaging 21.4 points and a league-best 15.5 rebounds, was not selected by West coaches, but he still has a chance to play in the game. Yao Ming is injured and Commissioner David Stern will choose a replacement.
Pettitte to announce retirement
Andy Pettitte will announce his retirement Friday morning at a Yankee Stadium news conference. A five-time World Series champion, Pettitte had been telling the Yankees since the end of the season that it was likely he wouldn't play in 2011. He became a free agent and has not attempted to negotiate a contract.
The 38-year-old left-hander is 240-138 with a 3.88 ERA in 16 major-league seasons. Pettitte's 203 wins with the Yankees are the third-most in franchise history, trailing only Whitey Ford (236) and Red Ruffing (231).
■ Shortstop Alexei Ramirez and the Chicago White Sox finalized a new contract that adds $32.5 million over four years through 2015. The 29-year-old hit .282 with eight homers and 70 RBI last season, becoming the first shortstop in White Sox history to win the Silver Slugger Award.
■ Outfielder Laynce Nix and the Washington Nationals agreed to terms on a minor-league contract that includes an invitation to spring training. Nix played for the Cincinnati Reds last season, hitting .291 with four homers and 18 RBI in 97 games.
Four share lead at frost-delayed Phoenix
Bill Haas, Jason Bohn, Tom Gillis and Champions Tour player Tom Lehman shot 6-under 65s in chilly conditions Thursday to share the lead in the suspended first round of the Phoenix Open. The start of play was delayed four hours because of heavy frost at TPC Scottsdale and only the scheduled morning starters completed the round. Another long frost delay was expected Friday, likely forcing most of the second round to Saturday and possibly setting up a 36-hole finish Sunday.
Lucas Glover was a stroke back along with Chris Couch and Ben Crane. Phil Mickelson, coming off a one-stroke loss to Bubba Watson last week at Torrey Pines in San Diego, had a 67.
Goosen shoots 69 at windy Qatar
South Africa's Retief Goosen shot a 3-under 69 Thursday on his 42nd birthday to take a one-shot lead in the first round of the Qatar Masters. With winds reaching 25 mph at the Doha Golf Club, Goosen managed five birdies to finish a shot ahead of defending champion Robert Karlsson of Sweden, South Africa's Darren Fitchardt and England's Richard Finch.
The windy conditions seemed to unsettle some of the most prominent players, with top-ranked Lee Westwood shooting a 73 and American Steve Stricker a 76. Second-ranked Martin Kaymer, who could overtake Westwood at this tournament, shot a 77.
Seven golfers in the 132-player field did not finish because of darkness.
Griese walking away from TV booth
Hall of Fame quarterback Bob Griese is retiring from broadcasting. Griese spent 29 years in his second career after leading the Miami Dolphins to two Super Bowl titles. The last 24 were with ABC and ESPN. ESPN made the announcement Thursday on Griese's 66th birthday.
U.S. skier Vonn suffers concussion
Three-time World Cup champion Lindsey Vonn sustained a concussion Thursday when she crashed during practice in Zwiesel, Germany. Vonn said the soreness was "manageable," and not something that would prevent her from competing at next week's world championships, where she will defend her super-G and downhill titles in Garmisch-Partenkirchen beginning Tuesday.
The last word
Steelers linebacker James Harrison, no stranger to getting fined by commissioner Roger Goodell for illegal hits, had this to say during Super Bowl media day Tuesday:
"I don't want to hurt nobody. I don't want to step on nobody's foot or hurt their toe. I don't want to have no dirt or none of this rubber on this field fly into their eye and make their eye hurt. I just want to tackle them softly on the ground and, if y'all can, we'll lay a pillow down where I'm going to tackle them, so they don't hit the ground too hard, Mr. Goodell."