Aldridge powers Portland past now 0-14 Philadelphia 76ers
LaMarcus Aldridge had 15 of his 33 points during the pivotal third quarter to help the Portland Trail Blazers defeat Philadelphia 114-104 on Monday night, sending the 76ers to their 14th straight loss to open the season.
Wesley Matthews added 17 points, Damian Lillard had 17 and Robin Lopez chipped in 12 for Portland (11-3), which won its eighth in a row.
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Michael Carter-Williams led Philadelphia (0-14) with 24 points. Former Kentucky star Nerlens Noel came off the bench for 12 points, five rebounds, three assists, three steals and two blocks in 32 minutes.
The 76ers moved within one loss of matching the franchise mark for consecutive losses to begin a season and will look to avoid an 0-15 opening when they host Brooklyn on Wednesday. They also are just four losses from tying the 2009-10 Nets, who set an NBA record by beginning the season 0-18. If the losing continues, Philadelphia could break the NBA record for losses to start the season on Dec. 5 when hosting Oklahoma City.
■ LeBron James scored 29 points, including 16 in the first quarter, and the Cleveland Cavaliers broke a four-game losing streak with a 106-74 win over the Orlando Magic.
James took control early and sparked his team to a much-needed comfortable win.
"I'm my biggest critic," James said. "I wasn't happy with my play the last week. No one puts any more pressure on me than myself. You go out and you just don't talk about it, you show it too."
After averaging 18.5 points and shooting 41 percent from the field in the losing streak, James was 9-for-17 from the field Monday and tied a season-high with 11 assists while not playing the fourth quarter.
■ Jonas Valanciunas had a career-high 27 points and 11 rebounds, DeMar DeRozan scored 23 and the Toronto Raptors won their fifth straight game, beating the Phoenix Suns 104-100.
Patrick Patterson chipped in two points, four assists and five rebounds off the bench. Fellow ex-Cat Chuck Hayes had four points and an assist in nine minutes.
Eric Bledsoe scored 25 points and Markieff Morris had 17 for the Suns, whose four-game winning streak was snapped.
■ Blake Griffin had 22 points and a season-high 16 rebounds, Chris Paul had 22 points and a season-high 15 assists and the Los Angeles Clippers handed the Charlotte Hornets their sixth straight loss 113-92.
The Clippers were 15 of 32 from three-point range, while the Hornets were just 2-for-20. Jamal Crawford had 21 points and J.J. Redick added 17 and the sharp-shooting duo combined to go 9 of 17 from beyond the arc.
■ Donald Sloan scored 29 points to lead seven Pacers in double digits in Indiana's 111-100 win at Dallas.
Red Sox land deals with Sandoval, Ramirez
The Red Sox are hoping to spend their way out of the AL East cellar with two big free agent signings.
The first team in major league history to go from worst to first and back again has agreed to terms third baseman Pablo Sandoval, his agent confirmed Monday night. According to a baseball official with knowledge of the deal, Boston also agreed to a deal with Hanley Ramirez, who came up to the major leagues with the Red Sox.
The official confirmed both agreements on the condition of anonymity because the players hadn't passed physicals. The Ramirez deal was expected to be finalized Tuesday.
The moves give the Red Sox a potent batting order that includes two of the last three World Series MVPs, Sandoval and David Ortiz. But they still have to replace the four starting pitchers they traded last summer.
■ Kyle Seager has cashed in on the best season of his young career, becoming the third Seattle Mariners player to reach the $100 million threshold. The third baseman and the Mariners have agreed to a $100 million, seven-year contract, a person with knowledge of the deal told The Associated Press on Monday. The person spoke to the AP on condition of anonymity because the deal is pending a physical.
Seager is coming off his first All-Star game selection and his first Gold Glove. The 27-year-old hit .268 with a career-high 25 homers and 96 RBI.
Soviet coach Tikhonov passes away at 84
Viktor Tikhonov, the Soviet hockey coach whose teams won three Olympic gold medals but fell to the United States in the "Miracle on Ice," died after a long illness. He was 84.
Russia's Kontinental Hockey League said early Monday that Tikhonov died during the night. He had been receiving treatment at home for an undisclosed illness that had left him unable to walk in recent weeks.
"The entire global hockey community has lost a great coach," Vladislav Tretiak, who played goalie for Tikhonov's Soviet team and now heads the Russian Hockey Federation, told Russia's R-Sport news agency.
Russian President Vladimir Putin expressed condolences to Tikhonov's family, the Kremlin said. The Russian Sports Ministry called his death an "irreplaceable loss" for hockey fans worldwide.
Nike, U.S. Olympic Committee extend deal
The swoosh and the rings will stick together through at least 2020. The U.S. Olympic Committee signed an extension to its sponsorship deal with Nike that will last through the Tokyo Games six years from now.
Nike is one of the USOC's top-tier sponsors. No dollar figures were given for the latest extension, though these contracts traditionally have been worth between $12 million and $15 million over four years.
USOC chief marketing officer Lisa Baird said the deal, announced Monday, is even more valuable because of Nike's worldwide reach and its advertising campaigns that use Olympic athletes. Some athletes in Nike's most recent ad launches include Alyson Felix, Sanya Richards-Ross and Gracie Gold.
The last word
Cleveland Cavaliers star LeBron James, bluntly assessing his own play before Monday's game against the Orlando Magic: