NBADavis leads Pelicans past Mavs
As Anthony Davis soaked in the crescendo of cheers punctuating an intense but triumphant struggle with Dallas, the Pelicans' All-Star noticed a fan standing before him with his arms invitingly extended to each side.
So Davis gave the friendly stranger a hug.
"When you're out there having fun, there's no telling what you're going to do," Davis said. "I didn't expect to go in the crowd. My body just walked me over there. When you're out there having fun and playing as hard as we play, your best emotions come out."
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Davis capped a 28-point, 10-rebound outing with go-ahead free throws in the final seconds and a pivotal steal, and New Orleans won its third straight game, 109-106 over the visiting Dallas Mavericks on Sunday night.
The victory not only gave the Pelicans a season-long winning streak in what has been a frustratingly inconsistent season, but also ended a nine-game skid in their series with Dallas.
"We talked about how if we can beat a team like this it would be a big step for our program," Pelicans Coach Monty Williams said. "We knew it would be a tough, playoff-type game."
Tyreke Evans had 24 points, including a running hook in the final half-minute, to go with a season-high 12 assists for New Orleans. Ryan Anderson added 18 points.
Monta Ellis scored 36 points, giving Dallas a 106-105 lead with a running scoop over Quincy Pondexter and Omer Asik with 12.3 seconds left, but Davis drew a foul from Tyson Chandler while receiving Evans' inbound pass and hit the go-ahead free throws. Then Davis, who had five steals, intercepted Rajon Rondo's inbound pass intended for Dirk Nowitzki and added two more free throws.
Davis said Williams had instructed the Pelicans to deny Ellis the inbound pass.
"Dirk was the only one left who can score ... so I just tried to deny him the ball and make (Rondo) force a hang-time pass, knowing that I could probably get a piece of it," Davis said.
Nowitzki said Dallas was hurt by being out of timeouts on the play.
"We just had to throw it up," Nowitzki said. "It's hard to lob it up over one of the longest guys in the NBA."
Rondo finished with 17 points, nine assists and eight rebounds.
■ Hassan Whiteside bounced around the NBA D-League and played in China and Lebanon, hoping NBA teams were keeping tabs and would give him an opportunity. The former Marshall star was in Charlotte, working out at the downtown YMCA, a few months ago. He then got his chance with the Miami Heat and he's making the most of it.
Whiteside had an unconventional triple-double with a team-record and career-high 12 blocks to go with 14 points and 13 rebounds to help Miami beat the sluggish Chicago Bulls 96-84 Sunday. It was the NBA first triple-double with blocks to occur when a player played less than 30 minutes.
"It's a blessing. Like I told my teammates, you won't believe how things work out in life," said Whiteside, who signed with Miami in late November. "Three months ago I was at the downtown Y just chilling, working on my game. I couldn't get a team to pick up the phone."
Whiteside's 12 blocks were the most in the NBA this season. His previous career high was five blocks.
■ John Wall scored six of his 19 points in overtime and had 16 assists as the Washington Wizards beat the host Denver Nuggets 117-115. Kris Humphries had a season-high 21 points and 14 rebounds to help Washington stop a two-game skid.
■ Paul Millsap scored 20 points, Al Horford added 19 and Eastern Conference-leading Atlanta topped the visiting Minnesota Timberwolves 112-100, extending the Hawks' franchise record with their 16th straight win.
■ Jonas Valanciunas had 20 points and 11 rebounds, DeMar DeRozan scored 25 points and the host Toronto Raptors held on down the stretch to beat the short-handed Detroit Pistons 114-110. The Pistons, who lost for the third time in four games, learned earlier Sunday that guard Brandon Jennings will miss the rest of the season after he ruptured his left Achilles tendon.
GolfHaas pulls away to win Humana Challenge
Bill Haas pulled ahead with a 20-foot birdie putt on the par-4 16th and parred the final two holes for a one-stroke victory Sunday in the Humana Challenge in La Quinta, Calif.
Haas closed with a 5-under 67 for his sixth PGA Tour title and first since the 2013 AT&T National. He won the 2010 event for his first tour victory.
"Honestly, if you would have told me I would have done this last week, I would have laughed at you," Haas said. "To be here is an unbelievable feeling."
His father, Jay, won the 1998 tournament. Haas' great uncle, 85-year-old Bob Goalby, was in the gallery at PGA West's Arnold Palmer Private Course. Goalby won the 1968 Masters.
Haas was making his first start since November. He took the break to rest his left wrist, fractured in April when he fell down stairs. "I played a little bit," he said. "I didn't just put the clubs up."
St. Xavier graduate Justin Thomas tied for seventh, two strokes back. He dropped out of the lead on 16 with a double bogey after hitting into the canal from a fairway bunker.
"Hit fractionally behind it and in the water she went," the 21-year-old said.
High school basketball
Newport Catholic, Murray favored in All 'A'
Newport Central Catholic is favored to win its third consecutive Touchstone Energy All "A" Classic boys' basketball title this week. The Thoroughbreds, No. 4 overall in the state in Dave Cantrall's Rating the State, are the highest rated team in the small school state tournament that will be played Thursday through Sunday in the Frankfort Convention Center. Williamsburg (16-0) is the only undefeated boys' or girls' team left in Kentucky.
■ Murray is the team to beat in the girls' All "A" Classic, according to Cantrall's ratings. He has Murray No. 4 overall in the state, followed by No. 10 Covington Holy Cross and No. 23 Danville. Defending champion Glasgow lost to Clinton County in the regional tournament last week. The girls' All "A" begins Wednesday in the Frankfort Convention Center.
Went the Day Well ends his losing streak
Went the Day Well, once a promising Triple Crown contender, ended a lengthy losing streak Sunday in the $59,000 allowance feature for New York breds at Aqueduct in New York.
Went the Day Well rallied to beat Testosterstone by three quarters of a length for his first victory since the Spiral Stakes at Turfway Park on March 24, 2012. The Spiral was the springboard weeks later into the Kentucky Derby, where he rallied from 17th to finish fourth.
■ Dominika Cibulkova reproduced the kind of tennis that helped her reach the finals last year as she beat two-time champion Victoria Azarenka 6-2, 3-6, 6-3 in the fourth round of the Australian Open. Cibulkova pounded 44 winners, including a dozen on her backhand side, and broke former No. 1-ranked Azarenka's serve seven times to reach a Grand Slam quarterfinal for the sixth time. She lost the finals here last year to the now-retired Li Na.
■ Kentucky women's tennis team advanced to the Intercollegiate Tennis Association National Indoor Championships with a 4-2 come-from-behind win over Arizona State on Sunday in Evanston, Ill. The Wildcats, who improve to 4-1 with their second upset victory in as many days, defeated No. 21 Rice on Saturday.
The last word
Asked if he's the best cornerback in the NFL, the Seattle Seahawks' Richard Sherman responded:
"I don't answer preschool questions."