Ex-Wildcats star Davis scores 21 points in Hornets debut
Former Kentucky star Anthony Davis scored 21 points and grabbed seven rebounds in his NBA debut Wednesday night, but the New Orleans Hornets lost to the visiting San Antonio Spurs 99-95.
Davis, who led Kentucky to the national title as a freshman last season and was the No. 1 overall pick in the NBA Draft, made two free throws with 1:08 remaining to give New Orleans its final lead, 95-94. But the Spurs closed strong. Tony Parker hit a three-pointer with 49.6 seconds left, and Tim Duncan padded the lead with two fouls shots. Duncan scored 24 points and Parker scored 23.
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Davis knocked down an 18-foot jumper from the baseline for his first NBA basket. Then he swished a 16-footer. By the end of his first quarter in the NBA, Davis had nine points and four rebounds, leading the Hornets to a 31-28 lead.
The Hornets' other first-round pick didn't fare as well. Austin Rivers, son of Celtics Coach Doc Rivers, connected on just 1 of 9 shots and finished with seven points.
Rockets 105, Pistons 96: James Harden had 37 points and 12 assists in a stirring debut for Houston, and Carlos Delfino made four three-pointers in the fourth quarter to lift Houston over host Detroit. Harden, who agreed to a five-year, $80 million contract with the Rockets after a stunning trade from Oklahoma City last weekend, fell just short of his career high of 40 points, and his 12 assists were a career best.
76ers 84, Nuggets 75: Spencer Hawes had 16 points, 12 rebounds and five blocked shots to lead host Philadelphia over Denver. The 76ers won without All-Star center Andrew Bynum, who has a bone bruise in his right knee.
Pacers 90, Raptors 88: George Hill scored the go-ahead basket with two seconds left, completing visiting Indiana's rally. David West scored 14 of his 25 points in the fourth quarter. The Pacers trailed 84-74 with just under six minutes left. Kyle Lowry led Toronto with 21.
Kidd-Gilchrist to start Bobcats' opener
Former Kentucky standout Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, the No. 2 overall pick in this year's draft, will start for the Bobcats in their season opener Friday night against the Pacers, Coach Mike Dunlap said. Kidd-Gilchrist has appeared lost at times during the pre-season, but Dunlap said that's not unusual, even for a high draft pick. "I don't think any rookie, even (No. 1 overall pick) Anthony Davis, is ready for an 82-game season," Dunlap said. Charlotte had the worst record in the NBA last season at 7-59 and lost its final 23 games.
First game in Brooklyn postponed
The Knicks-Nets game that was scheduled for Thursday night at the new Barclays Center in Brooklyn has been postponed at Mayor Michael Bloomberg's request after damage from Hurricane Sandy. Though the NBA had said Tuesday night the game would go on as planned, Bloomberg asked the league to call it off. The Barclays Center sits above a subway station and commuter rail terminal and with most of mass transit still out in New York, transportation to the game would have been difficult. Kentucky plays its season opener at the Barclays Center Nov. 9 against Maryland.
Vick keeps starting job with Eagles
Michael Vick will remain the starting quarterback for the Philadelphia Eagles, Coach Andy Reid said Wednesday. Vick, a four-time Pro Bowl quarterback, has struggled this season, and Philadelphia (3-4) has lost three straight games. Reid didn't endorse Vick after Sunday's 30-17 loss to Atlanta, but he is sticking with Vick over unproven rookie Nick Foles for now. The Saints host the Eagles Sunday night in the Superdome.
Lewis calls out Dalton, Maualuga
Bengals Coach Marvin Lewis publicly challenged quarterback Andy Dalton and middle linebacker Rey Maualuga on Wednesday to become more forceful leaders on their 3-4 team. The move was out of character for Lewis, who prefers to handle things quietly and internally. "We've wallowed around here in mediocrity," Lewis said. Cincinnati has lost three in a row heading into home games against the Broncos (4-3) and the Giants (6-2). With the season starting to slip away, Lewis challenged Maualuga to "take hold of our football team," and said of Dalton, "At some point you step out of your skin and you go. And it's time to go."
UCLA's Anderson declared eligible
UCLA freshman Kyle Anderson has been cleared by the NCAA to play basketball this season. Athletic Director Dan Guerrero said the school was told Wednesday that Anderson can play after the NCAA "found no evidence to substantiate claims of violations in his case." Anderson was being investigated for potential recruiting violations. The forward from Jersey City, N.J., was among the nation's top recruits last spring. Still unresolved is the status of freshman Shabazz Muhammad, another highly sought after recruit who is the subject of an NCAA probe involving alleged improper benefits.
Reds' Ludwick declines option
Reds outfielder Ryan Ludwick has become a free agent after declining his contract option for $5 million next season. Ludwick was the Reds' top hitter while first baseman Joey Votto missed 48 games with a knee injury, batting .340 with 12 homers and 36 RBI. Ludwick made $2.5 million last season and got a $500,000 buyout on the 2013 option. Relief pitcher Ryan Madson also became a free agent Wednesday after declining his contract option.
■ The Angels traded right-hander Ervin Santana to the Royals for minor-league left-hander Brandon Sisk. The Angels exercised Santana's $13 million option for next season before trading the Dominican veteran and cash to the Royals.
■ The Mets picked up the contract options for All-Stars David Wright and R.A. Dickey. Wright, the Mets' third baseman since 2004, will make $16 million next season. A strong contender for the NL Cy Young Award, Dickey's deal will pay him $5 million.
■ The Rays exercised contract options on pitcher James Shields, closer Fernando Rodney and catcher Jose Molina.
■ Reliever Rafael Soriano opted out of the final year of a three-year, $35 million contract with the Yankees and will likely seek a long-term deal in free agency. The move was expected after the right-hander had 42 saves and a 2.26 ERA while filling in for injured closer Mariano Rivera this season.
Men's soccer team loses to UCF
After giving up a goal late in the first half, the UK men's soccer team peppered Central Florida goalkeeper Sebastian Evers but failed to find the net in a 1-0 loss Wednesday night at the UK Soccer Complex. The defeat snapped a four-game winning streak for UK (9-7-1, 4-2-1 Conference USA). Omar Vallejo scored the goal for UCF (7-6-3, 4-3-0).
The last word
As the Miami Heat hoisted their championship banner and LeBron James received his ring Tuesday night, Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert conceded he regrets guaranteeing Cleveland would win a title before James and the Heat.
"Looking back now, that probably was not the most brilliant thing I've ever done in my life. If you're going to predict something that doesn't happen and you're going to do it publicly, you'd for sure take it back. When that happened, when they won, it was the end of the end of the end of that whole thing. Now there's nothing more to talk about."