Nine-year vet Hayes OK with complementary role for Raptors
Former University of Kentucky star Chuck Hayes has only played in five of the Toronto Raptors' first 12 games. But the nine-year NBA veteran said he knows he fills an important, situational role for one of the best teams in the Eastern Conference.
"Even though the playing time hasn't been there, I'm just as involved as DeMar (DeRozan) in the (team scouting meetings.) I'm just as involved as Kyle (Lowry) in the pre-game planning," Hayes told the Toronto Sun earlier this week. "They ask me for my opinion, I give it, if I see something, I'll make a recommendation."
At 6-foot-6, Hayes is undersized as a post player.
"There are certain games that match up to my skill-set, there's some that may not," Hayes said. "Regardless, I've still got to be ready.
"Everybody wants to get into the battle and play, it's been our human nature (since) when we started playing sports, but I'm 10 years in, man. I'm undrafted and I'm undersized, I have nothing to complain about."
■ Hayes had two points, four rebounds and two steals in the Raptors' 124-83 rout of the Milwaukee Bucks on Friday night.
Suns hand Sixers another lopsided loss
Phoenix's Eric Bledsoe smiled and explained he was only joking when he said the top-ranked Kentucky Wildcats could defeat the winless Philadelphia 76ers in a series.
No harm, no foul.
Well, not quite.
He might have wished he could take it back after Nerlens Noel knocked him on his back only 30 seconds into the game. Noel showed some rare fight for the hapless Sixers, wasting no time sticking up for his team, even if it meant former Wildcat-on-Wildcat abuse.
Bledsoe shook off the foul and the one-liner to turn this one into the latest laughter in Philly.
Isaiah Thomas scored 23 points and Markieff Morris had 18 to lead the Suns past the Sixers 122-96 on Friday night. The Sixers have lost their first 12 games and are just six losses shy of matching the 2009-10 New Jersey Nets for worst start in NBA history.
"I respect those guys over there," Bledsoe there. "We could have come out and lost this game."
Bledsoe said this week Kentucky could beat the Sixers in a playoff series and Philadelphia might be able to take one game. Noel failed to find the humor and went after Bledsoe and fouled him. Bledsoe popped right up and ran his chest into Noel. The two exchanged words and had to be separated as the crowd cheered in delight.
Bledsoe said he was warned by an unnamed Sixer that he would get mauled in the paint.
"Word got back to me," he said. "You could tell (it was intentional). Look at the tape."
Noel, who had three points and five rebounds, said he was just trying to protect the rim.
"I thought I blocked the shot, at first," he said. "Then I felt his head. It's nothing personal."
In the final box, Noel's foul meant nothing.
"I don't know what message you're going to send," Suns Coach Jeff Hornacek said. "So you fouled him hard. Big deal."
Bledsoe, who didn't play in the fourth quarter, finished with 13 points, seven assists and five rebounds. Fellow ex-Cat Archie Goodwin had a season-high 11 points in 15 minutes.
Wall leads Wizards past LeBron and Cavs
John Wall took over in the third quarter and finished 28 points, seven assists and six rebounds, and the hustling Washington Wizards clamped down for a 91-78 win over LeBron James and the mostly flatfooted Cleveland Cavaliers, who lost their third straight to fall back below .500.
James scored 22 points on 8-for-21 shooting, but Cleveland committed 19 turnovers, shot 36 percent and scored a season-low in points. James was never below .500 more than 10 games into a season during his four seasons with the Miami Heat, but he and the Cavaliers are now 5-6.
Wall scored 17 points in the third quarter, responding after the Wizards hit a rare lull. Washington had a 55-42 halftime lead shrunk to 60-53, but the 2010 No. 1 overall draft pick then began to assert himself at both ends.
Wall scored six points in a row, including a stop-and-pop jumper after he dribbled downcourt following one of his rebounds, to push the lead to 16 points. He later hustled to intercept a long fast-break pass intended for James, a steal that eventually lead to two free throws for Wall and another 16-point lead.
Ciganda, Granada share LPGA finale lead
Michelle Wie suddenly is in a position to consider a million ways how a great year can get even better. On a tough day that only rewarded the best shots, Wie holed out for eagle with a pitching wedge on her way to a 5-under 67 that moved her up high enough on the leaderboard Friday at the CME Group Tour Championship to get into position for a $1 million bonus.
Carlota Ciganda took advantage of a putting lesson from Spanish great Jose Maria Olazabal to make five birdies for a 67 that gave her a share of the lead with Julieta Granada, who scrambled for a 71. They were at 7-under 137 going into the weekend at the Tiburon Golf Club in Naples, Fla.
Wie is two shots behind.
■ Henrik Stenson birdied two of his closing three holes to seize a two-shot lead over Rory McIlroy and two others in the second round of the World Tour Championship at Dubai, United Arab Emirates.
Galyer sets UK swimming record in 200 IM
Led by a school-record from sophomore Danielle Galyer to win the 200 individual medley, Kentucky's swimming and diving team placed 19 in the top 10 in 11 events on the first day of the Ohio State Invitational on Friday in Columbus, Ohio.
After the first day of the meet, the UK women are in second place with 266 points and the men are fourth with 128 points. Purdue leads the women's field with 291.5 points, and Ohio State is on top of the men's standings with 437.5.
Along with Galyer, fellow sophomore Kendal Casey posted a win in the women's 500 freestyle, recording the second-fastest time in program history. Along with Galyer's school-record 1:58.49 in the 200 IM, freshman Morgan Belli was second in 2:01.51, a personal best and the third-fastest time in school history.
■ Eastern Kentucky's men's cross country team and women's senior Ann Eason, a Sayre graduate, will compete at the NCAA Division I Cross Country Championships on Saturday in Terre Haute, Ind. The women's 6K race is scheduled to start at noon, followed by the men's 10K race at approximately 1 p.m.
■ Andrew Gamarra, a rookie head coach who starred in high school at Paul Laurence Dunbar, was named women's soccer coach of the year for the Skyline Conference. Gamarra has led Sage, a Division III school in Troy, N.Y., to a 11-4-2 record. The Gators reached the conference tournament semifinals before losing to Rutgers-Newark.
■ Kentucky's gymnastics team will host its Blue/White meet at 4 p.m. Saturday in Memorial Coliseum. Admission is free.
The last word
Central Michigan women's basketball coach Sue Guevara talked about Kentucky this week as her Chippewas prepared to host the Wildcats on Saturday night:
"They're good, there's a reason they're in the top 25. They're fast, they're aggressive. They know the kind of toothpaste you used in the morning. That's how tight they play you. They just get after you."