Other Sports

Sports briefs: Jan. 5


Arenas meets with authorities about guns in his locker

Washington Wizards star Gilbert Arenas said he took unloaded guns from his locker in a "misguided effort to play a joke" on a teammate. Arenas released a written statement Monday after meeting with law enforcement officials. And Arenas' lawyer said the player voluntarily met with prosecutors and detectives and answered every question during a two-hour interview.

In his statement, Arenas repeated his earlier assertion that he brought four guns to the Verizon Center to store in his locker in order to get them out of his house and away from his children. He said he mistakenly thought that recent changes in D.C. law made it legal for him to store unloaded guns there.

Arenas denied threatening or assaulting anyone. The New York Post has reported that Arenas and teammate Javaris Crittenton drew guns on each other on Dec. 21.

"Joke or not, I now recognize that what I did was a mistake and was wrong," Arenas said. "I should not have brought the guns to D.C. in the first place, and I now realize that there's no such thing as joking around when it comes to guns — even if unloaded."

Two officials within the league who have been briefed on the investigation told The Associated Press on Saturday that the incident stemmed from a dispute over card-playing gambling debts and a heated discussion in the locker room.

NBA commissioner David Stern likely will wait until the legal process is complete before handing down penalties, but he could rule on Arenas now since league rules were broken in that instance.

Russell Westbrook scored 29 points, Kevin Durant added 25 and the Oklahoma City Thunder dominated the third quarter Monday night in a 98-85 victory over the host Chicago Bulls. Westbrook and Durant had eight points each during a 27-6 run in the third, when the Thunder shot 65 percent to take control of the game. It was Oklahoma City's sixth victory in seven games.

Derrick Rose scored 19 points and Joakim Noah had 14 points and 14 rebounds for the Bulls, who were booed by their fans as they shot 22 percent in the decisive third period.

Dwyane Wade had 28 points and eight rebounds, Michael Beasley scored 20 of his 22 points in the first half and the Miami Heat took control in the opening minutes on the way to beating the Atlanta Hawks 92-75 on Monday night.

The Heat held Atlanta — which came in averaging 104.9 points — to a season low, plus finished with a 52-30 rebounding edge.

The Heat played without center Jermaine O'Neal (hip flexor and groin strain). The team is hopeful he can play Wednesday at home against Boston.

■ Los Angeles Lakers forward Pau Gasol has a mild to moderate strained left hamstring and is doubtful for Tuesday night's game against Houston. Gasol missed the season's first 11 games with a strained right hamstring.

■ Sixteen NBA Development League games will air on Versus this season. The cable network announced Monday it will televise 10 regular-season and six playoff games of the NBA's minor league. The regular-season games will be broadcast Saturday nights at 11 p.m. starting Jan. 16. Playoff coverage begins April 10.


Nuxhall a Frick Award finalist

Cincinnati's Joe Nuxhall, Montreal's Jacques Doucet and Toronto's Tom Cheek have been voted finalists for baseball broadcasting's Ford Frick Award for the second straight year. Cheek received 5,930 votes, Doucet 5,183 and Nuxhall 1,363, the Hall of Fame said Monday. They join seven broadcasters selected by a Hall of Fame research committee: Billy Berroa, Skip Caray, Lanny Frattare, Graham McNamee, Jon Miller, Herb Score and Dave Van Horne.

Nuxhall, a 135-game winner during 16 major-league seasons spent almost entirely with the Reds, died of cancer in 2007. Miller and Van Horne are the only active broadcasters on the ballot.

The winner will be announced Feb. 1 and inducted in July.

Tony Kubek won last year's award.

■ A person familiar with the negotiations said free-agent third baseman Adrian Beltre and the Boston Red Sox are close to agreeing on a one-year contract. A home run threat known for strong defense, Beltre spent the past five years with Seattle. Injuries limited him to 111 games last season, when he batted .265 with eight homers and 44 RBI.

Jason Bay's contract with the New York Mets includes a $17 million option for 2014 with a $3 million buyout, a source told The Associated Press. Bay took a physical Monday, a necessary step to finalize the deal, and the Mets scheduled a Tuesday news conference at Citi Field to introduce their first major free-agent signing of the off-season. Bay is guaranteed $66 million under the four-year contract and could make $80 million over five seasons, the source said.

■ The Colorado Rockies and catcher Miguel Olivo agreed to a $2.5 million, one-year contract Monday that includes a club option for 2011. Olivo, who will share catching duties with Chris Iannetta, hit .249 with 23 home runs and 65 RBI in 114 games for the Kansas City Royals last season.


Henin returns with win in Australia

Justine Henin beat second-seeded Nadia Petrova 7-5, 7-5 in the first round of the Brisbane International in Australia on Monday, the former No. 1's first official tour match since announcing her comeback in September.

"I feel better today than when I retired, that's for sure," Henin said. "Better emotionally, mentally. Better with myself, and that makes a big difference."

Henin is preparing to make her return to Grand Slam action at the Australian Open, which starts Jan. 18.

"I've been waiting for this moment for so long," Henin said. "At the beginning, everything seemed very big: the stadium, all the people. I'm not used to it anymore."

Henin said it only took three or four games to settle into a rhythm.

"Mentally, I was able to play my best when the score was tight at the end of both sets," she said. "I really enjoyed being out there. That's what I'm going to remember today."

Earlier, 2008 French Open champion Ana Ivanovic won the last three games to finish off Jelena Dokic 7-5, 1-6, 6-3.

In men's action, top-seeded Andy Roddick beat Peter Luczak 7-6 (5), 6-2. Roddick closed the first set with his 13th ace, and broke Luczak in the fifth and seventh games of the second while saving a break point before serving out. Defending champion Radek Stepanek extended his winning streak at the tournament to six matches with a 6-4, 6-0 win over local wild card John Millman.


Palmer's grandson to play at Bob Hope

Arnold Palmer's grandson has received a sponsor's exemption to play in the PGA Tour's Bob Hope Classic. Tournament officials said Monday that Sam Saunders was awarded an unrestricted exemption for the Jan. 18-24 event in La Quinta, Calif., that Palmer won five times during his storied career. The 22-year-old Saunders turned pro last year after a solid amateur career at Clemson. He was medalist at the 2005 U.S. Junior Amateur.

■ Four-time defending NASCAR champion Jimmie Johnson and his wife are expecting their first child. A spokesperson for the driver says Chandra Johnson is due in July.

The last word

Brandon Marshall said little on Monday, but his cleaned-out locker at Denver Broncos headquarters spoke volumes. The Broncos' mega-talented, controversial receiver not only completely emptied his locker, but removed his nameplate. The team is expected to try to trade Marshall during the off-season. His comment:

"Appreciate being here for four years and the opportunity to still play football."