Linsanity reaches stock market as MSG shares get big boost
With the Knicks and Rangers on winning streaks and Linsanity spreading through the sports world, shares of The Madison Square Garden Co. reached an all-time high Monday. The Knicks have won a season-best five games in a row, and point guard Jeremy Lin is the surprise hit of the NBA season. He has averaged 27 points and eight assists over those five games and quickly become a starter. As the NBA's first Asian-American player and a rare Harvard alumnus in the pros, he's become an instant fan favorite in the process, even though the team has still lost more games than it has won.
And MSG's hockey team, the Rangers, has won three games in a row and leads the Eastern Conference. The winning streaks are good for MSG shares. "Rangers and Knicks fans do tend to buy the stock when the teams are doing well," said Miller Tabak analyst David Joyce.
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Shares of Madison Square Garden Co. rose $1.17, or 3.8 percent, to close at $32.32 Monday. Earlier, they peaked at $33.18, the highest point since MSG's stock began trading in January 2010. The shares are up more than 10 percent since Feb. 3, the day before Lin first saw significant playing time.
Lin introduced himself to Garden fans with a 25-point, seven-assist performance in a Feb. 4 win over the Nets, playing extended minutes for the first time with the team. Two days later, he had 28 points and eight assists against the Jazz. He followed with a 23-point, 10-assist game against former No. 1 draft pick and Kentucky star John Wall and the Wizards before overshadowing five-time NBA champion Kobe Bryant with a 38-point, seven-assist performance against the Lakers on Feb. 10. No other player in NBA history has had at least 20 points and seven assists in his first four starts, according to the Elias Sports Bureau.
■ Lin was named the Eastern Conference Player of the Week Monday. He's the first player to win the award in both the NBA and NBA Development League, where he was honored while playing for the Reno Bighorns.
Bogans expects to be back after surgery
Nets guard and former Kentucky star Keith Bogans underwent ankle surgery and is expected to be fully recovered for training camp next season, the team said Monday. Bogans, 31, fractured his left ankle and tore his deltoid ligament during a Feb. 8 game at Detroit. He joined the Nets as a free agent a week before he was hurt. He played in five games this season, averaging, 4.2 points and 2.2 rebounds in 18.8 minutes a game.
Wallace says he's retiring after season
Ben Wallace insists this is his last season — without a doubt. The Detroit veteran said Monday he will retire and is looking forward to spending time with his family. Wallace, 37, decided to come back for 2011-12, his 16th season in the NBA. He's now tied with Avery Johnson for the most games played by an undrafted player since the NBA-ABA merger, and Wallace can break that mark Tuesday night when the Pistons host the Spurs. He is a four-time NBA defensive player of the year and helped the Pistons win the 2004 championship.
■ Lou Williams scored 23 points off the bench as the 76ers built an early lead and held on to send the host Bobcats to their 15th straight defeat, 98-89 Monday night. Thaddeus Young added 20 points, and Jrue Holiday had 19, and former Kentucky star Jodie Meeks chipped in with 11 points and five rebounds for the 76ers (20-9).
■ Cavaliers rookie point guard Kyrie Irving made a move in his recovery from a concussion Monday, taking part in non-contact work during practice, and could return as early as Wednesday against Indiana.
■ Bulls star Derrick Rose remains day to day for Chicago because of lower back spasms, the team said Monday. Rose was examined by a specialist, and General Manager Gar Forman said no structural damage was found. He's missed seven games because of problems with his back and left big toe and sat out the past two.
Baseball picked to finish fifth in East
Kentucky's baseball team was picked to finish fifth in the Southeastern Conference East by the league's coaches. Florida was picked No. 1, earning 66 points, compiled on a 6-5-4-3-2-1 basis for each division. Coaches weren't allowed to vote for their own team. South Carolina was second, Georgia was third, Vanderbilt was fourth, and Tennessee was sixth. Arkansas was picked to win the West, receiving 64 points, six points ahead of Louisiana State. Alabama was picked third, Mississippi fourth, Mississippi State fifth and Auburn sixth. The Cats open their season in Spartanburg, S.C. against Wofford on Friday. They play Eastern Michigan on Saturday and South Carolina Upstate on Sunday. UK's home opener against Buffalo is scheduled for 4 p.m. on Feb. 24.
Sports in the courts
High school coach accused of indecency
Martinsville (Ind.) boys basketball coach Tim Wolf is stepping down after his indecency arrest in an Indianapolis park. The Reporter-Times said schools Superintendent Ron Furniss released a statement Monday saying the 65-year-old Wolf will retire effective immediately. He was arrested Sunday on a misdemeanor public indecency charge after an Indianapolis police officer found him in "a state of nudity" in his car in the company of a teenage girl at Eagle Creek Park. The police report said a 17-year-old Martinsville girl also was present but did not elaborate on her involvement. Wolf had a record of 457-348 in 37 years of coaching, including 25 at Martinsville.
Sandusky can see grandchildren
A judge ruled Monday that former Penn State assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky can have supervised contact with most of his grandchildren, saying there was no evidence that the children's parents wouldn't be able to keep them safe. Judge John Cleland also rejected requests by prosecutors that jurors be brought in from outside the State College area to hear the case and that Sandusky remain indoors while on home confinement before trial. Sandusky faces 52 criminal counts for what prosecutors say was the sexual abuse of 10 boys over a 15-year period. He has denied the allegations.
■ Penn State said Monday it has spent $3.2 million on lawyers, consultants and public relations firms in response to the allegations: $2.5 million on crisis communications and an investigation led by an independent firm, $470,000 on university legal services and $210,000 for the legal defenses of a former vice president, a former president and an athletics director on leave.
Lefty, Tiger produce 96% ratings jump
Phil Mickelson and Tiger Woods together in the final round produced the highest rating for CBS Sports at Pebble Beach in 15 years, the network said Monday. The overnight rating from the final round was 5.1 with a 10 share, which was up 96 percent from last year. It was the highest rating for the final round of the Pebble Beach National Pro-Am since a 5.8 with a 13 share in 1997, when Mark O'Meara held off Woods and David Duval. Mickelson and Woods were in the next-to-last group. Mickelson shot a 64 for a two-shot victory, and Woods was 11 shots back.
The last word
Dereck Chisora insisted Monday he can "smell fear" in Vitali Klitschko's corner and promised to knock out the WBC heavyweight champion in the eighth round of their title fight. Chisora is 13 years younger than Klitschko, 40, but the champion has a massive advantage in weight and reach. Klitschko is 6-foot-7 with an 80-inch reach, while Chisora is 6-foot-2 with a 74-inch reach, and the champ didn't seem fazed by the taunts. Klitschko said:
"I'm really looking forward to teaching this young gentleman a lesson. He is from Great Britain, but he's lacking appropriate manners."