Bobcats targeting Jan. 14 for Kidd-Gilchrist's return
Charlotte Bobcats Coach Steve Clifford said that Michael Kidd-Gilchrist could return to the lineup as soon as Jan. 14. The former University of Kentucky star has been out since fracturing his hand during a game at Dallas on Dec. 3.
Kidd-Gilchrist said he can't wait to get back to playing.
"I miss the game of basketball," he said. "I miss it a lot."
He expects to keep his focus on defense when he gets back.
"I'm the leader of the defense on this team," Kidd-Gilchrist said. "I'm like a middle linebacker, so, yeah, I'm going to take it upon myself on the defensive end. On the offensive end, there's Al (Jefferson) and there's Gerald Henderson and there's Kemba (Walker). But on the defensive end, there's me. I put it on myself to get us back there."
■ Klay Thompson scored 26 points, Stephen Curry and Andrew Bogut connected on a trick play worthy of the NBA's slam dunk contest, and the Golden State Warriors have their longest in-season winning streak since 1975 after Sunday night's 112-96 win over the Washington Wizards.
The visiting Warriors won their ninth in a row by turning the third quarter into a laugher, opening the period with a 30-5 run that included a sequence in which Curry drove into the paint and sent the ball flying out of his hand and off the backboard above the rim. The carom went right to a leaping Bogut, who timed the play perfectly for a dunk, then stared at his right hand with mouth agape as he ran down court.
Curry and Thompson topped John Wall and Bradley Beal in the battle of the two highest-scoring backcourts in the NBA. Curry scored 14 points on 5-for-17 shooting, but the league's most turnover-prone player had 10 assists and only two giveaways.
Wall had 14 points and 10 assists, but he shot 4-for-11, including 1-for-5 in the crucial third quarter. Beal, who remains on a minutes restriction because of a left leg injury, scored nine points and 4-for-15 shooting.
■ LeBron James scored 30 points, Michael Beasley came off the bench to add 17 and the Miami Heat held on down the stretch to beat the Toronto Raptors 102-97 Sunday night.
Patrick Patterson had 11 points and seven rebounds for Toronto.
■ Paul George scored 16 points, Roy Hibbert made a putback and two free throws in the final 1:09, and the Indiana Pacers held off Cleveland's late rally for an 82-78 win.
■ Chris Paul will be out of the Los Angeles Clippers' lineup for up to six weeks with a separated right shoulder, but the All-Star point guard won't need surgery. The Clippers gave the prognosis Sunday after Paul had an MRI.
Paul was injured in the third quarter of the Clippers' game at Dallas on Friday when he tripped over guard Monta Ellis.
Paul is averaging 19.6 points, an NBA-best 11.2 assists and 4.6 rebounds per game for the Pacific Division-leading Clippers, who lost to San Antonio on Saturday with Darren Collison starting in his place. Collison scored 20 points against Dallas and had 14 against the Spurs.
■ Russell Westbrook already is off crutches and shooting free throws, but the All-Star point guard said he doesn't know when he'll be ready to return to the court for the Oklahoma City Thunder.
Westbrook, who had his third knee operation since April on Dec. 27, said he wasn't in any pain but his knee "just kept swelling and swelling." After an MRI, surgery was decided on.
He said he's "just trying to do what's best for my body and what's best for me in the future."
■ San Antonio center Tiago Splitter will miss three to five weeks after spraining his right shoulder against the Clippers.
Splitter was hurt Saturday night in the fourth quarter of a 116-92 win. He had a season-high 22 points before getting injured charging into Ryan Hollins' chest.
Redskins to interview Giants' Fewell
Perry Fewell's interview for the Washington Redskins coaching job was set for Monday. The New York Giants' defensive coordinator will meet with Washington GM Bruce Allen at Redskins Park.
Fewell will be the fifth known candidate to interview as the potential replacement for Mike Shanahan, who was fired last week.
Allen met with Baltimore Ravens offensive coordinator Jim Caldwell at Redskins Park on Sunday. Caldwell was head coach of the Indianapolis Colts for three seasons.
Allen has also interviewed Seattle Seahawks offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell, Dallas Cowboys special teams coach Rich Bisaccia and Carolina Panthers defensive coordinator Sean McDermott.
UK men's tennis
Kentucky opens at No. 9 in poll
Kentucky's men's tennis team will start the season ranked ninth in the nation in the Intercollegiate Tennis Association poll.
The Cats' highest-ranked singles player is Bowling Green native Beck Pennington at 55th. Tom Jomby and Kevin Lai are 68th and 97th, respectively.
The last word
In many ways, it was a dream, going from 2-14 and the first overall pick in the NFL Draft to 11-5 and a spot in the playoffs. Yet the Kansas City Chiefs' season ended in just about the most nightmarish way possible, a second-half collapse in a 45-44 loss to the Indianapolis Colts on Saturday. Coach Andy Reid said Sunday:
"I sat there and talked to them this morning and there were a lot of long faces. They had their hearts ripped out. I can work with that. ... They should hurt. That'll make us better."