Other Sports

Sports briefs: Dec. 31

NBA

Wade's jumper keeps Wolves from spoiling LeBron's birthday

Dwyane Wade hit a jumper from the wing, then scored on an inbounds pass from LeBron James with 4.6 seconds to play to lift the undefeated Miami Heat to a 103-101 victory over the Minnesota Timberwolves on Friday night in Minneapolis. Playing on a sore foot, Wade finished with 19 points, while James had 34 points, 10 assists and eight rebounds on his 27th birthday.

Ricky Rubio had 12 points, 12 assists and six rebounds, and Kevin Love had 25 points and 12 boards for the Timberwolves, who led 100-99 with 55 seconds to play.

But Wade hit a jumper and then lost Rubio on an inbounds play to make the winning bucket, one game after beating the Charlotte Bobcats with a last-second shot.

Jermaine O'Neal scored 19 points as he and the host Boston Celtics ended a dismal start to their season with a 96-85 victory in their home opener against the Detroit Pistons. Ray Allen and Brandon Bass added 17 points apiece for Boston and Paul Pierce had 12 in his debut after being sidelined with a bruised right heel.

Former UK stars Tayshaun Prince and Brandon Knight scored 10 points apiece for Detroit, and Rajon Rondo had nine points and five assists for Boston.

Danny Granger scored nine of his 22 points in overtime to help the Indiana Pacers beat the Cleveland Cavaliers 98-91 in Indianapolis. Granger shot 5-for-17 in regulation, but was 3-for-5 in the extra period. Rookie guard Kyrie Irving led Cleveland with 20 points in his best game so far, but missed a layup that would have won the game at the end of regulation.

Dwight Howard had 20 points and 24 rebounds, Ryan Anderson scored 23 points, and the Orlando Magic beat the host Charlotte Bobcats 100-79 for their third straight victory.

Zach Randolph scored 23 points, Marc Gasol added 20, and the Memphis Grizzlies earned their first victory of the season, beating the visiting Houston Rockets 113-93. Former UK standout Patrick Patterson, who missed the Rockets' first two games with an ankle injury, was 0-for-4 from the field and grabbed three rebounds in just under 15 minutes of play for Houston.

Tennis

Djokovic routs Federer in exhibition

Top-ranked Novak Djokovic swept aside Roger Federer 6-2, 6-1 Friday and will play David Ferrer in the finals of the World Tennis Championship exhibition in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates.

The fifth-ranked Ferrer defeated second-ranked Rafael Nadal 6-3, 6-2 in the other semifinal. Nadal, who won the tournament the past two years, was nursing a sore shoulder and never seriously challenged his fellow Spaniard.

Nadal said his shoulder "felt OK, not perfect" since injuring it in November. "I knew before coming here that I was not ready to win a match against David Ferrer, not to win a match against Djokovic or Federer," Nadal said. "But I am ready to spend hours on court without risk of injury. That is the most important thing. I need this transition, hours of practice."

Djokovic showed plenty of the dominant play that helped him win three Grand Slam titles and amass a 70-6 record last season. The 24-year-old Serb twice broke No. 3 Federer in the first set and ran off nine games in a row in a one-sided affair that lasted 44 minutes.

Federer apologized to the crowd for disappointing them with his quick exit and promised to play better Saturday when he faces Nadal for third place. "It's surprising when it goes quick and you are on the losing side. It's not so comfortable sometimes," Federer said.

Motorcycle racing

Hayden injured in training accident

Motorcycle racer Nicky Hayden's winter vacation was marred this past Tuesday when he broke his left scapula and fractured two ribs while training near his home in Owensboro.

The Ducati rider was training at a private indoor flat track facility, riding a motorcycle for the first time since breaking his scaphoid at the Valencia Grand Prix on Nov. 6. There are no plans for surgery.

"Obviously, injuries are never good," Hayden said, "but it's part of motorcycle racing. Just like at Valencia, it was kind of a freak accident. ... I came up behind another rider, and he went to move out of the way. I wasn't going that fast, but he clipped my front wheel and I went down and landed pretty hard on my left shoulder, and that was it."

Sports on TV

Versus' name change coming Monday

The cable channel with three names in 5½ years is getting its new identity from one of the most recognizable brands in sports broadcasting. Once Outdoor Life Network, now Versus, it will become NBC Sports Network on Monday.

Linking the channel to such a known quantity could make an impact as simple as encouraging cable companies to stick it in a more high-profile spot on the dial.

"In some areas we're not easy to find," NBC Sports Group Chairman Mark Lazarus said. "But we think we will give more value to distributors by having that."

The channel's parent company, Comcast, took over NBCUniversal in January 2011, and the peacock's imprint quickly appeared on Versus. NBC announcers, NBC production, NBC cross-promotions.

Monday was chosen as a natural fit for the name change because that's when the NHL Winter Classic airs on NBC, offering plenty of opportunities to trumpet the switch.

At 4 p.m. EST, the new name will become official with the Winter Classic post-game show on the cable channel.

Horse racing

Glickman wins feature at Aqueduct

Glickman recovered from a starting-gate mishap to beat Black Pen by one length Friday and win the $62,000 allowance feature at Aqueduct. Glickman broke through the barrier before the start but did not run off. The 3-year-old colt was reloaded and responded with his second win in six starts. Ridden by apprentice Irad Ortiz Jr. and trained by Jim Ryerson, Glickman ran the 6 furlongs in 1:10.27.

Lady of Shamrock defeated Batalha by 23/4 lengths to win the $81,000 Blue Norther Stakes for 2-year-old fillies on Friday at Santa Anita. Ridden by Garrett Gomez, Lady of Shamrock ran 1 mile on the turf in 1:34.24.

Minor league Baseball

Buckner to work for Cubs' Class A team

The Chicago Cubs hired former star Bill Buckner as a minor-league hitting coach. Buckner will be with the Boise Hawks of the short-season Class A Northwest League.

Buckner played for the Cubs from 1977-84 and won the 1980 NL batting title. He was a career .289 hitter over 22 seasons.

The 62-year-old Buckner was a manager last year for Brockton, a Massachusetts team in the independent CanAm league. He previously was a hitting coach for the Chicago White Sox and held the same position in the minors for Toronto.

The last word

The most dangerous return man in NFL history was left off this season's Pro Bowl roster, and Devin Hester's not happy about it. Still, the Chicago Bears' returner wasn't surprised that Arizona Cardinals rookie Patrick Peterson got the nod. Peterson has returned four punts for TDs this season, tying a record Hester also shares. But Hester, with three combined returns for scores this season, still leads the NFL in punt-return average with 17.3 yards per return:

"Heck yeah, I'm disappointed. I'm not going to lie. I was a little upset. But he did a job this year. If anybody was going to beat me, I knew it was going to be him."

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