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Doc Rivers: Relationship with Glen Davis helped deal with Clippers

02.25.14 at 9:05 am ET
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Glen Davis and Doc Rivers have reunited.

After reaching a buyout with the Magic Friday, Davis and the Clippers penned an agreement Monday, according to ESPN.com. The agreement, which has not been disclosed, will require Davis to have a physical Tuesday, giving him the ability to play during Wednesday’€™s game against the Rockets.

“I just really felt the Clippers were heading in the right direction,” Davis said. “They’re young, they got a great coach, a great point guard, a rising star like Blake Griffin and DeAndre Jordan and guys that you can build around and I feel like I’m one of those types of guys, a glue guy.”

Davis, who also had yielded interested from the Nets before they signed Jason Collins, played for Rivers and the Celtics from 2007-2011. Rivers said he hoped Davis, who has averaged 12.1 points and 6.3 rebounds in 45 games this season, would sign with Los Angeles.

The 28-year-old was earning $6 million this season, and was set to earn $6.6 million next season.

“We were on the phone with him and just told him what we offered, and I’m sure other guys did that,” Rivers said. “I do think that it helped a little bit that we have a relationship. He knows me and I know him. I think that’s the situation he wanted to be in and that’s good.”

The Clippers had 12 players on their roster after they did not extend Sasha Vujacic‘€™s 10-day contract and traded Antawn Jamison and Byron Mullens. Part of the reason for creating that roster flexibility was so that the team could acquire players such as Davis who were bought out.

“The one thing we predicted right was the buyout season would be active this year, and I don’€™t think it’€™s finished,” Rivers said. “I think there will be more guys being bought out. It’€™s every man for themselves right now, I guess.”

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Rays manager Joe Maddon: MLB’s new home plate collision rule ‘not a radical departure’

02.25.14 at 8:14 am ET
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During the 2014 season, runners and catchers may continue to collide at the plate, but, due to a one-year experiment agreed to by Major League Baseball and its players, the umpires will need to look for a few factors before they rule the outcome of the play.

“It’€™s not a radical departure from what it had been,” said Rays manager Joe Maddon.

Instead of forcing out home plate collisions completely, the league has ruled that collisions are allowed if the catcher has the ball and he also blocks the runner’s direct pathway to the plate or if the catcher is in the basepath to field a throw to the plate.

More specifically, the new rule, 7.13, says, “a runner attempting to score may not deviate from his direct pathway to the plate in order to contact with the catcher (or other player covering home plate).”

If a runner violates this rule, even if the fielder does not maintain possession of the ball, the runner is out.

“It’s good, I think it takes away the malicious intent behind the play at the plate,” sad Rangers backstop J.P. Arencibia. “Obviously the runner doesn’t always have to slide, and the catcher still has the ability to block the plate once he has the ball in hand.”

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Tuesday’s Morning Mashup: Knicks PG Raymond Felton arrested on weapons charges

02.25.14 at 8:04 am ET
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Welcome to Tuesday’s Morning Mashup. For the latest news, start at our WEEI.com home page or click here for the top stories from our news wire.

NBA: Lakers at Pacers, 7 p.m. (NBATV)
College basketball: Florida at Vanderbilt, 7 p.m. (ESPN)
College basketball: Virginia Tech at Duke, 7 p.m. (ESPNU)
College basketball: Iowa at Minnesota, 7 p.m. (BTN)
College basketball: Kansas State at Texas Tech, 7 p.m. (ESPN2)
College basketball: Xavier at St. John’s, 7 p.m. (FS1)
College basketball: Dayton at Saint Joseph’s, 7 p.m. (CBSSN)
College basketball: Wichita State at Bradley, 9 p.m. (ESPN2)
College basketball: Indiana at Wisconsin, 9 p.m. (ESPN)
College basketball: Seton Hall at DePaul, 9 p.m. (FS1)
College basketball: Utah State at New Mexico, 9 p.m. (CBSSN)
College basketball: Missouri at Georgia, 9 p.m. (ESPNU)
College basketball: San Jose State at San Diego State, 11 p.m. (CBSSN)
NHL: Hurricanes at Sabres, 7 p.m. (NHL Network)
MLB preseason: Yankees at Tigers, 7 p.m. (MLB Network)
MLB preseason: Rangers at Mariners, 10 p.m. (MLB Network)
Soccer: UEFA Champions, Borussia Dortmund at Zenit St. Petersburg, noon (FS1)
Soccer: UEFA Champions, Manchester United at Olympiakos, 2:30 p.m. (FS1)


– The Knicks’ miserable season continues to get more miserable, on and off the court.

Hours after New York’s heartbreaking 110-108 loss to the Mavericks at Madison Square Garden — on a Dirk Nowitzki jumper that bounced up off the rim and fell through the net at the buzzer after the Knicks had rallied from an eight-point deficit with 90 seconds remaining to tie the game — point guard Raymond Felton was arrested on three counts of criminal possession of a weapon, the New York City Police Department revealed to the media.

Update, 11:30 a.m.: Felton, who is going through a divorce after 19 months of marriage, turned himself for questioning at about 12:50 a.m., after a woman — identified by the New York Daily News as his wife, Ariane Raymondo-Felton — dropped off his gun at an Upper West Side police station. He was charged with second- and third-degree criminal possession of a firearm — both felonies — as well as misdemeanor fourth-degree possession. The 29-year-old was due to appear in criminal court in Manhattan later Tuesday morning.

Felton, an eight-year NBA veteran, has struggled this season and reportedly was one of the players the team was trying to move prior to last week’s trade deadline. He was signed to a three-year, $10 million contract by the Knicks in July 2012 — marking his second stint with the team — after Jeremy Lin left as a free agent to join the Rockets.

– Meanwhile, Knicks shooting guard J.R. Smith, who was fined $50,000 by the NBA last month after pulling on the shoelaces of opponents at the free throw line, is at it again. During the fourth quarter of Monday’s game, Smith pulled down Vince Carter‘s headband as the Mavericks guard walked down the court after hitting 3-pointers on consecutive Dallas possessions.

Despite being caught on camera, Smith denied it afterward.

“No, your eyes were playing tricks on you,” he told a reporter with a laugh. “You’re reaching for that one. I [already] got fined once for that [expletive].”

Smith, who was benched by Knicks coach Mike Woodson following his shoelace antics — after being warned by the league to stop, he continued the behavior — reportedly was on the block leading up the trade deadline, but his contract and history make him difficult to move despite his performance last season that earned him recognition as the NBA Sixth Man of the Year.

The Yankees start their spring training schedule by hosting Florida State on Tuesday in Tampa, and Heisman Trophy winner Jameis Winston is looking forward to facing his favorite MLB team.

“I think I’m going to the a little starstruck,” said Winston, a reliever who led the Seminoles football team to a 14-0 record and a BCS championship.

The sophomore right-hander has appeared in three games this season, allowing one hit and no runs over four innings.

“It will be fun to watch,” Yankees manager Joe Girardi said. “Obviously, he’s extremely athletic when you watch him play the game of football. He’s got a great arm. Pretty mature for his age.”

ON THIS DAY TRIVIA (answer below): On Feb. 25, 1998, which onetime Celtics coach passed Red Auerbach to become the second-winningest coach in NBA history with 939 career victories?

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Yankees outfielder Brett Gardner agrees to contract extension

02.24.14 at 11:26 am ET
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Brett Gardner

Brett Gardner

Just over a month after signing a one-year contract, outfielder Brett Gardner and the Yankees agreed to a deal that could keep Gardner in pinstripes until 2019.

The contract includes $52 million from 2015-18 and an option for 2019.

“It shows the level of confidence, belief and trust, and the type of player and person he is,” Yankees general manager Brian Cashman said. “We’€™re excited to know that he’€™s going to be a part of this team going forward. We’€™re a better team with Gardy on it, that’€™s the bottom line.

“This is a good day for him, and we believe it makes the future for us better.”

If Gardner had not agreed to the deal, which was announced Sunday, he would have made $5.6 million during the 2014 season and become eligible for free agency once the season ended.

“Free agency is something that, it kind of intrigued me, but it also kind of scared me,” Gardner said. “I’€™ve never been anywhere else. I love it here. I love putting on the pinstripes everyday.”

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Browns confirm they attempted to trade for 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh

02.24.14 at 10:16 am ET
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On Sunday, Browns owner Jimmy Haslam confirmed a report from earlier in the weekend that his team attempted to trade for 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh.

“There was an opportunity there, and it didn’t materialize,” Haslam said of the deal that would include the 49ers receiving a draft pick, according to USA Today.

San Francisco and its coach, though, had already said that the report was false.

49ers CEO Jed York denied the potential move via the following tweet on Friday.

Early Saturday, Harbuagh followed up with a similar message, telling CSN Bay Area, “For the record, I echo Jed York’€™s comment — ‘€˜isn’€™t true.’€™ I know nothing about a trade with the Cleveland Browns and us involving me.”

Some of the speculation comes from a season-ending press conference that Harbaugh conducted on Jan. 21 when he said he had conversations with the Browns regarding his coaches. At the time it was assumed those talks had to do with his assistants.

While the 49ers have denied the report, CBSSports.com said Sunday evening that the relationship between Harbaugh and San Francisco’€™s front office has progressively gotten worse.

According to CBS Sports reporter Jason La Canfora, sources say Harbaugh, who has two seasons left on a five-year, $25 million contract, and general manager Trent Baalke are hardly speaking, and there is some suggestion that the team will eventually need to decide between the two.

Despite the apparent issues with members of the front office, Harbaugh and York have shown interest in Harbaugh penning a long-term contract with the team. After unsuccessful talks about an extension last season, the two sides are expected to return to negotiations this offseason.

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Monday’s Morning Mashup: Jason Collins receives warm welcome in Nets debut

02.24.14 at 7:47 am ET
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Welcome to Monday’s Morning Mashup. For the latest news, start at our WEEI.com home page or click here for the top stories from our news wire.

NBA: Celtics at Jazz, 9 p.m. (CSNNE)
NBA: Mavericks at Knicks, 7:30 p.m. (NBATV)
College basketball: Syracuse at Maryland, 7 p.m. (ESPN)
College basketball: Oklahoma State at TCU, 7 p.m. (ESPNU)
College basketball: Oklahoma at Kansas, 9 p.m. (ESPN)


Jason Collins played for the Nets in Sunday night’s win over the Lakers, becoming the first openly gay player in one of the four major professional sports leagues in the United States, after signing a 10-day contract earlier in the day.

Collins received a brief but warm round of applause from the crowd at Los Angeles’ Staples Center when he checked in during the second quarter. He played a total of 10 1/2 minutes, recording two rebounds and five fouls.

“I know that I can play in the NBA and it felt good to be out there tonight,” Collins said after the game. “Conditioning-wise, I felt good. I don’t think I got tired. It was a lot of fun to get back out on the court and set screens, hard fouls. Didn’t take any charges tonight — that’ll change. I’ll get in position next time. As far as basketball timing, it’s going to take at least a couple of practices.”

Teammate Paul Pierce, who had 25 points and seven rebounds to help the Nets end an 11-game losing streak against the Lakers, offered support for the 12-year veteran. Pierce also played alongside Collins on the Celtics last season.

“In the society we live in, you know this was going to happen eventually,” Pierce said. “He is a guy who’s going to be able to open the door for so many athletes — not only in America but around the world — to feel comfortable to come out and not feel embarrassed and feel like they’re welcomed in the sports world. It isn’t about race, gender or sexuality. It’s about being a part of a team and caring for one another. That’s all that matters at the end of the day.”

NBA commissioner Adam Silver also expressed support for Collins.

“Jason told us that his goal was to earn another contract with an NBA team,” Silver said in a statement. “Today, I want to commend him on achieving his goal. I know everyone in the NBA family is excited for him and proud that our league fosters an inclusive and respectful environment.”

– The debate continues about the charge call in Saturday night’s showdown between Syracuse and Duke, with even veteran officials unsure of whether the call was correct after watching slow-motion replays.

One thing no one is debating: Syracuse coach Jim Boeheim did not handle the situation well, storming onto the court and swearing at referee Tony Greene, leading to his ejection and effectively ending his team’s chances of winning. Syracuse was trailing by just two points with 10 seconds left when Boeheim lost his cool.

“I just thought that was the worst call of the year, that’s all,” Boeheim said after the game. “I just hate to see the game decided on that call.”

The ACC announced Sunday that Boeheim would not receive further punishment.

– The Knicks continue to underwhelm, and the people of New York aren’t happy about it.

One fan, a 19-year-old who is the son of a New York City police officer, allegedly tweeted death threats against Knicks owner James Dolan, leading to his arrest for harassment, according to the New York Daily News.

Police told the Daily News that Johnny Giamella tweeted, “James Dolan, it’s officially time to die,” and, “Death to James Dolan.” He also posted pictures of himself holding a gun.

Dolan’s security chief saw the tweets and notified police.

Meanwhile, Ron Artest‘s opinionated brother, Daniel, sent out a series of tweets blasting the organization after learning that the team was in the process of buying out Ron’s contract. Daniel called Dolan “the worst owner in sports,” and also wrote, “Mike Woodson is trash as a coach.”

Added Daniel: “Ron wanted to be a Knick his entire career and his dream became a nightmare. Knicks need an overhaul. Top to bottom.”

ON THIS DAY TRIVIA (answer below): On Feb. 24, 1917, which Red Sox legend was sold to the Indians?

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USA can’t solve Carey Price, falls to Canada in Olympic semifinals

02.21.14 at 2:14 pm ET
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The United States will have to wait four more years for another shot at Olympic hockey gold. The men’s team threw 31 shots on goal in Friday’s semifinal game against Canada, but Carey Price answered all of them, allowing Jamie Benn‘s second-period goal to stand up as the game-winner in a 1-0 contest that featured a lot more action than the score would indicate.

The game’s lone goal came 1:41 into the second period on a beautiful setup between Benn and Jay Bouwmeester. Benn made a pretty backhand pass from the right circle out to Bouwmeester at the left point, then Bouwmeester sent a slap pass back to Benn for the tip-in goal. Benn had another great chance later in the period off a one-time feed from Corey Perry, but Jonathan Quick made an excellent glove save while sliding to his left.

The U.S. had some good chances of its own in the second. On an early power play, Patrick Kane sent a slap pass right to Zach Parise‘€™s stick, but Price made a great pad save. A few minutes later, Kane sent a backhand pass through the crease to Max Pacioretty, but Pacioretty couldn’€™t control. With under three minutes to go in the period, Paul Stastny had two chances from right in front, with the second one squeaking through Price’€™s legs only to slide wide of the net.

The Americans came close to tying the game several times in the third, but just couldn’t solve Price. A James van Riemsdyk chance off a Phil Kessel centering pass was turned aside. A Parise shot from point-blank range hit Price right in the chest. With under five minutes to go, Blake Wheeler and Joe Pavelski both had quality chances, but Price remained up to the challenge.

Both teams came out flying to start the game, combining for 18 shots on goal in the game’€™s first nine and a half minutes. Canada started to take control as the first period went on, though, registering seven of period’€™s final nine shots. Its best scoring chance came when Sidney Crosby got behind the U.S. defense, but Quick came up with a big save and Jeff Carter‘€™s rebound bid hit a body in front.

Canada will now take on Sweden in Sunday’s gold medal game, while the U.S. will play for bronze against Finland on Saturday.

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Mike Eruzione on M&M: U.S. hockey team ‘a slight favorite’ vs. Canada

02.21.14 at 12:20 pm ET
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Mike Eruzione checks out some of the 1980 U.S. Olympic memorabilia he auctioned off over the weekend. (Heritage Auctions)

Mike Eruzione is confident the U.S. Olympic hockey team will do well against Canada. (Heritage Auctions)

U.S. Olympic hockey legend Mike Eruzione spoke with Mut & Merloni on Friday to preview the Sochi Olympics semifinal between Team USA and Canada. To hear the interview, go to the Mut & Merloni audio on demand page.

Eruzione, captain of the gold medal-winning 1980 team, said he went into the tournament thinking the Americans could do very well, and he hasn’t changed his opinion.

“There’s absolutely no question I thought they could win the gold medal,” Eruzione said. “They’re one of the best teams in the world. The best athletes, hockey players in the world are coming out of the United States now. So, there’s no doubt I thought they could win a medal. I didn’t think they’d finish out of the medal running. I didn’t want to put pressure and say they’re going to win the gold medal.

“This team was clearly put together with the opportunity to win this thing. They could have won it in Vancouver [in 2010], and there’s 10 players from that team that are playing on this particular team. So, they’ve got the experience, they’ve got great chemistry. I think they’re playing better than any team in the tournament right now. So yes, I thought this team had a great chance to win, and I think they have a great chance to win today. I think they’re a slight favorite today.”

Eruzione credits Team USA organizers with putting together a group of players that fit together well.

“I think this team was built with certain people in mind — T.J. Oshie an example,” Eruzione said. “They knew going in that if they had to have a shootout game, which is very possible, he’s one of the best in the National Hockey League in doing that. They left a defensemen like Keith Yandle off the team. Keith Yandle, I thought, should have been on this team. But they were looking for a particular defenseman to fit the style of play that they wanted this team to play. And that’s what they’ve done. They put a team together, and not a group of individual players that were so-called stars.”

Looking at three keys to Friday’s game, Eruzione said it starts from the back.

“I always go back to what my college hockey coach, Jack Parker, always said: Don’t call it hockey, call it goalie. When you get in a game like this, it’s going to come down to goaltending. Is [Carey] Price or [Jonathan] Quick going to make the big save, because you know there are going to be scoring opportunities. That being said, that’s one, the goaltender.

“I think two, the United States doesn’t want to get into a shootout. They don’t want to get into a high-scoring game. I think Canada might have a little more firepower up front.

“And three, can Canada break out? They haven’t scored a lot of goals, and the U.S. has. And you wonder, when is Sidney Crosby going to break out, or if he is going to break out.”

Added Eruzione: “I firmly believe the United States are a slight favorite, based on how they are playing vs. how Canada is playing. But we saw the other day in the women’s game that that can change very quickly.”

Following are more highlights from the interview.

On what emotions he has when watching the U.S. team play: “I get excited for it. I get excited because I’ve been there, and I get excited for our athletes that are competing today. Just as I did yesterday with our women. I was sick, heartbroken after that game yesterday. I think as an Olympian you relate to the players, you relate to the athletes. They train, they work so hard for this magical moment. It’s a time in my life that I just sit there and go, ‘Wow, I was part of that, I was part of that magic, the honor of representing your country, the honor of putting on a jersey that says ‘USA’ across the front. And we do, we represent our country.

“And that’s what I think makes the Olympic Games so special. It’s not Boston, it’s not the Patriots vs. the Bears or a Super Bowl game. It’s a country. I get that excitement and that great feeling knowing I was a part of that.”

On if he feels differently about the Olympics with NHL players competing: “No, I don’t feel differently at all. I know some of the players and I want to see them perform and represent our country and represent USA Hockey. It doesn’t matter to me. Once that athlete puts that shirt on, they’re us, they represent us. I’m rooting for them.”

On if he’s had any contact with members of the Russian team his USA squad beat in the 1980 Olympics: “I got a phone call a few years ago from Alexei Kasatonov, who was a great defenseman for the Soviets. He lives in New Jersey, played for the Devils. He called me up a few years ago and he said, ‘Michael, we have many Soviet players living in the United States, we play five exhibition games, ’80 Soviet team vs. ’80 U.S. team and we all make money.’ I said, ‘Alexei, I don’t play hockey anymore, and most of my teammates don’t, but let me find out.’

“So I called Jack O’Callahan, Charlestown boy, BU guy, living out in Chicago. I called Jack up and I explained the whole thing to him. And there’s a pause, and Jack says, ‘Here’s what you do: You call him back and tell him screw him, we beat them once and we’re not playing them again.’

“So I call him back and I said, ‘We don’t play hockey anymore so we’re not interested. But we’re avid golfers.’ I said, ‘If you want to do a five-city golf tour, we make some money for charity and maybe we’ll all make a few bucks at the same time.’ And I hear, ‘We don’t play golf.’ That was my last conversation with a Soviet player.

“But my teammates, some of my teammates played with some of the Soviet players when they finally allowed them to come over to this country to play. And interestingly, they don’t talk about it. It’s like it never happened.”

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Friday’s Morning Mashup: Nets work out Jason Collins, consider making him first openly-gay player in NBA

02.21.14 at 8:05 am ET
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Welcome to Friday’s Morning Mashup. For the latest news, start at our WEEI.com home page or click here for the top stories from our news wire.

NBA: Celtics at Lakers, 10:30 p.m. (ESPN)
NBA: Nuggets at Bulls, 8 p.m. (ESPN)
College basketball: VCU at UMass, 7 p.m. (ESPN2)
College basketball: Mercer at Florida Gulf Coast, 6:05 p.m. (ESPNU)
College basketball: Iona at Rider, 8 p.m. (ESPNU)
College basketball: Detroit at Wright State, 10 p.m. (ESPNU)
College hockey: UMass-Lowell at Boston College, 7 p.m. (WEEI-AM)
College hockey: Boston University at Notre Dame, 7 p.m. (NBCSN)
College hockey: Cornell at Quinnipiac, 7 p.m. (NESN)
College hockey: St. Cloud State at Miami (Ohio), 7 p.m. (CBSSN)
College hockey: Colorado at Denver, 9:35 p.m. (CBSSN)
Olympics: Men’s hockey semifinal, Sweden vs. Finland, 6:30 a.m. (NBCSN)
Olympics: Women’s biathlon, women’s freestyle skiing, 9:30 a.m. (NBCSN)
Olympics: Men’s hockey semifinal, United States vs. Canada, noon (NBCSN; WEEI-FM)
Olympics: Women’s freestyle skiing, women’s biathlon, 3 p.m. (NBC)
Olympics: Men’s curling gold medal game, Great Britain vs. Canada, 5 p.m. (CNBC)
Olympics: Women’s Alpine, men’s short-track speedskating, women’s short-track speedskating, women’s speedskating, 8 p.m. (NBC)
Olympics: Men’s speedskating, 12:30 a.m. (NBC)
Olympics: Men’s snowboarding, women’s snowboarding, 3 a.m. (NBCSN)


The Nets worked out free agent center Jason Collins this week and are considering signing him to a 10-day contract. If they do, it would make Collins the first openly gay player in one of the country’s four major professional sports.

The Nets, in sixth place in the Eastern Conference at 25-27, have two roster spots open and a need for frontcourt depth, especially to help them get through their current West Coast road trip. They were rumored to be in the running for Lakers forward Jordan Hill but ended up standing pat at the trade deadline.

Enter Collins, who announced last offseason in a Sports Illustrated first-person article that is gay. Collins, who started 2012-13 with the Celtics and was traded to the Wizards late in the season, had an August tryout with the Pistons but otherwise has been working out on his own. The 35-year-old has said repeatedly that he’s in the best condition of his career.

“He’s in shape,” Nets general manager Billy King told reporters of Collins. “He’s one of the names on the list. We will look at anybody that’s a free agent that’s big that’s out there. We’re looking at any guys that are free agents, and he’s one of the guys. But we’ve got other guys that we’ll look it.”

Collins would see some familiar faces in Brooklyn. In addition to former Celtics teammates Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett, Collins played alongside current Nets coach Jason Kidd in New Jersey from 2001-08. He also played three seasons with Joe Johnson in Atlanta.

With NFL prospect Michael Sam‘s announcement that he is gay, Collins has returned to the spotlight. King said the team was not considering giving Collins a contract merely for publicity reasons.

“We’re going to bring in a basketball player,” he said. “It’s not about marketing or anything like that. ‘€¦ We are trying to get a guy in who can play basketball at this point. That’s my focus.”

LeBron James threw down an impressive dunk in the fourth quarter of the Heat’s 103-81 victory over the Thunder, but he paid the price as he got hit in the face by Serge Ibaka. He stayed on the floor as blood dripped out of his nose.

“I’m like everybody else, you’re used to seeing him like Superman, get up and sprint back even after tough hits and tough falls,” Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said. “So we knew something was up.”

James, who left the game, passed a concussion test but is due for more testing Friday.

“He has a swollen nose right now. It’s bleeding,” Spoelstra said right after the game. “We’ll evaluate him when we get back to Miami, but it’s sore.”

– Much has been made about the disappointing performance by the U.S. speedskaters at the Sochi Olympics, with the Americans failing to claim a single medal despite coming off a strong showing in the World Cup circuit.

Part of the blame was placed on the team’s new Under Armour skin-tight uniforms, which the athletes replaced midway through the competition. However, Maria Lamb, who finished last in the 5,000 meters Wednesday, said the problems go much deeper than that.

“The skinsuit issue is honestly just the tip of the iceberg,” she said. “Over the last few years, a few of us have raced better in spite of the organization rather than because of it.”

Added Lamb: “The organization could have done a lot of things differently. We have lost a lot of staff and we’ve had to deal with a huge amount of controversy. That definitely affects you. ‘€¦ That [expletive] adds up over the years, and unfortunately it came to a head that we could no longer perform well.”

Lamb apologized on Thursday for sounding “like I was making excuses for myself or anyone else,” but she stood by her claim that U.S. Speedskating failed the athletes.

“I felt that we were let down by some of the leadership in U.S. Speedskating, mistakes were made that were out of our control,” she wrote on her blog. “The team atmosphere grew increasingly negative as time went on, and as much as I tried to stay positive, I struggled at times and I know it affected my training.”

ON THIS DAY TRIVIA (answer below): On Feb. 21, 1982, which Bruins goalie recorded his only career shutout in a 1-0 victory over the Flyers in Philadelphia?

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U.S. women blow two-goal lead, fall to Canada in OT in gold medal game

02.20.14 at 3:06 pm ET
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Hockey can be a cruel, cruel game. With less than two minutes to go in Thursday’s Olympic gold medal game, the United States’ Kelli Stack sent a shot from her own blue line toward an empty Canadian net. Had it gone in, it would have all but sealed the USA’s first gold in women’s hockey since 1998.

Instead, it hit the post. A minute later, Canada’s Marie-Philip Poulin — a Boston University product — collected a loose puck in the slot and lifted it past U.S. goalie Jessie Vetter to tie the game at 2-2 and force overtime.

A pair of questionable calls gave Canada a 5-on-3 in the extra session, and once again it was Poulin (who also scored twice in Canada’s win over the U.S. in the 2010 gold medal game) who shattered the Americans’ dreams, taking a pass from Laura Fortino and firing it into the back of the net to give Canada a 3-2 win and its fourth straight Olympic gold.

Massachusetts natives Meghan Duggan and Alex Carpenter appeared to be on the verge of etching their names into Olympic lore, as they scored the goals that put the U.S. up 2-0 with less than 18 minutes left in regulation.

Neither team scored in the game’€™s first 30 minutes, but Duggan, a Danvers native and the team’€™s captain, broke the deadlock with 8:03 left in the second when she followed up a blocked shot and fired the puck past Shannon Szabados‘€™ glove and into the top corner.

The Americans carried the 1-0 lead into the third period. An early penalty by Canadian defenseman Tara Watchorn (her third of the game) sent the U.S. to the power play, and Carpenter — a North Reading native, a Boston College Eagle and the daughter of former Bruin Bobby Carpenter – made Canada pay when she redirected a pretty centering pass from Hilary Knight.

The Americans were less than four minutes away from the gold before Canada’s Brianne Jenner put a shot off Kacey Bellamy‘s leg and into the net to cut the lead to 2-1, setting up Poulin’s heroics.

The U.S. had several great chances in the first, especially on its three power plays, but Szabados was up to the challenge. On the Americans’€™ first power play, she made a great glove save on an Anne Schleper slap shot from the slot. Later in the period, she flashed the glove again, this time snagging a Knight shot through traffic.

At the other end, Canadian star Meghan Agosta-Marciano had a pair of quality scoring chances in the first. The first was denied by a nice block from Schleper. The second came on a Canada power play, but Vetter turned aside the slapper.

The win was the Canadians’ second over the U.S. in this tournament, as they also picked up a 3-2 win over the U.S. in group play last Wednesday. Prior to the Olympics, the U.S. and Canada had played a seven-game “€œfriendly”€ series, with the Americans taking four of those seven contests.

The U.S. women have now taken silver in three of the last four Olympics, falling to Canada in the final game each time.

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