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Tuesday’s Morning Mashup: Steelers not pleased after Broncos CB Aqib Talib says Ben Roethlisberger was faking injury 01.19.16 at 8:07 am ET
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Welcome to Tuesday’s Morning Mashup. For the latest news, start at our home page or click here for the top stories from our news wire.

NHL: Bruins at Canadiens, 7:30 p.m. (NESN)
NHL: Blackhawks at Predators, 8 p.m. (NBCSN)
NBA: Timberwolves at Pelicans, 8 p.m. (NBATV)
College basketball: Butler at Providence, 6:30 p.m. (FS1)
College basketball: Tulane at UConn, 7 p.m. (CBSSN)
College basketball: Illinois at Indiana, 7 p.m. (ESPN)
College basketball: Kansas at Oklahoma State, 7 p.m. (ESPN2)
College basketball: Mississippi State at Florida, 7 p.m. (ESPNU)
College basketball: Tulsa at East Carolina, 7 p.m. (ESPNews)
College basketball: Northwestern at Maryland, 8 p.m. (Big Ten Network)
College basketball: Georgetown at Xavier, 8:30 p.m. (FS1)
College basketball: LSU at Texas A&M, 9 p.m. (ESPN)
College basketball: Houston at SMU, 9 p.m. (ESPNU)
College basketball: Loyola (Ill.) at Evansville, 9 p.m. (CBSSN)
College basketball: Fresno State at San Diego State, 11 p.m. (ESPNU)


Ben Roethlisberger was quick to share a description of his ailments last week, in the lead-up to Sunday’s playoff game against the Broncos. Denver cornerback Aqib Talib isn’t buying it.

After Roethlisberger threw for 339 yards in Pittsburgh’s loss, Talib questioned the QB’s assertion that he had a shoulder injury.

“Ben was healthy as hell,” Talib said (via “He didn’t fool anybody.”

According to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, that comment did not sit well with Steelers players.

Roethlisberger, who injured the shoulder on a sack during the previous week’s game against the Bengals, took a pain-killing injection before warmups Sunday and showed noticeable discomfort after the game. Team sources told the Post-Gazette that Roethlisberger couldn’t even lift his arm Monday at the team’s practice facility.

It’s the second straight week an opposing player accused a Steeler of lying about an injury. Bengals cornerback Adam Jones claimed that wide receiver Antonio Brown winked at him after getting knocked out of their game following a hit to the head from Vontaze Burfict and was not really hurt.

Even after Brown was placed in the league’s concussion protocol, Jones doubted Brown’s injury. Only when Brown was ruled out of the Broncos game did Jones acknowledge he was mistaken.

— Oregon State basketball player Jarmal Reid apologized Monday after he was suspended four games by the school for tripping an official during Sunday’s 59-53 loss to Utah. The Pac-12 accepted Oregon State’s punishment and said it would not penalize Reid further.

“I’m well aware that my actions not only embarrassed my family, but also the university and the Oregon State basketball program,” Reid said in a statement. “I was not raised to act in that manner that was displayed on that play. I’m well aware that I made a mistake that has damaged my image. My actions are inexcusable and I am willing to accept any and all consequences that are to follow.”

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Read More: Aqib Talib, Ben Roethlisberger, Jarmal Reid, Magic Johnson
Wednesday’s Morning Mashup: Patriots CB Brandon Browner rips Kanye West for behavior at Grammys 02.11.15 at 8:18 am ET
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Welcome to Wednesday’s Morning Mashup. For the latest news, start at our home page or click here for the top stories from our news wire.

NBA: Hawks at Celtics, 7:30 p.m. (CSNNE)
NBA: Heat at Cavaliers, 8 p.m. (ESPN)
NBA: Rockets at Clippers, 10:30 p.m. (ESPN)
College basketball: Syracuse at Boston College, 7 p.m. (ESPN2; WEEI-AM)
College basketball: South Florida at Central Florida, 7 p.m. (ESPNews)
College basketball: Kansas State at West Virginia, 7 p.m. (ESPNU)
College basketball: Miami at Wake Forest, 7 p.m. (NESN)
College basketball: La Salle at VCU, 7 p.m. (CBSSN)
College basketball: Villanova at Providence, 8 p.m. (FS1)
College basketball: Oregon at USC, 9 p.m. (ESPN2)
College basketball: Morehead State at Eastern Kentucky, 9 p.m. (ESPNU)
College basketball: De Paul at St. John’s, 9 p.m. (CBSSN)
College basketball: Wyoming at San Diego State, 11 p.m. (CBSSN)
Soccer: Premier League, Everton at Chelsea, 2:40 p.m. (NBCSN)


— It’s a good thing for Kanye West that Brandon Browner was not at Sunday night’s Grammys along with Patriots teammates Julian Edelman and Malcolm Butler. Because Browner might have treated the rapper like an opposing wide receiver and drilled him to the ground.

In case you missed it, Kanye was upset that Beck won the Grammy for Album of the Year over Beyonce, and he walked on to the stage — as he did at the Video Music Awards in 2009, when he took the microphone from a victorious Taylor Swift to voice his displeasure —  although this time Kanye quickly turned around with a smile and went back to his seat. Later, however, he complained to the press, saying: “Beck needs to respect artistry and he should’ve given his award to Beyonce.”

That didn’t sit well with Browner, who tweeted: KANYE WEST is a sucka! Everybody don’t listen to Beyonce. Second time he tried to steal somebody shine. First time it was a 15 yr old girl.

Kanye try and play that I’m weird because of my genius. Non of the greats pull that stupid ish. Meaning Marley, Mike Jack, Tupac, Jayz etc.

People who tried Beck and Taylor Swift. Real tough guy. If only I could’ve been Beck for one night. Kanye would be rapping thru the wire.

— Lakers legend Magic Johnson is not happy about what’s happened to his former team, and he has little confidence in team management to turn things around.

Johnson questioned whether Jim Buss — who took over the team when his father, Jerry Buss, died in 2013 — was taking the right approach to getting the team out of the cellar.

“Jim is trying to do it himself and trying to prove to everybody that this was the right decision that my dad gave me the reins,” Johnson said Tuesday on ESPN’s “First Take.” “He’s not consulting with anybody that can help him achieve his goals and dreams to win an NBA championship.”

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Read More: Brandon Browner, Jim Buss, Kanye West, Magic Johnson
Wednesday’s Morning Mashup: Magic Johnson endorses tanking, ‘I hope the Lakers lose every game’ 12.10.14 at 7:43 am ET
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Welcome to Wednesday’s Morning Mashup. For the latest news, start at our home page or click here for the top stories from our news wire.

NBA: Celtics at Hornets, 7 p.m. (CSNNE)
NBA: Pelicans at Mavericks, 8 p.m. (ESPN)
NBA: Heat at Nuggets, 10:30 p.m. (ESPN)
College basketball: Columbia at Kentucky, 7 p.m. (ESPN2)
College basketball: High Point at Ohio State, 7 p.m. (ESPNU)
College basketball: Kansas at Georgetown, 7 p.m. (FS1)
College basketball: Wisconsin at Milwaukee, 9 p.m. (ESPN2)
College basketball: Utah at BYU 9 p.m. (ESPNU)
College basketball: Washington State at Gonzaga, 11 p.m. (ESPNU)
NHL: Maple Leafs at Red Wings, 8 p.m. (NBCSN)
Soccer: UEFA Champions, Manchester City at Roma, 2:30 p.m. (FS1)


Magic Johnson, who helped build the Lakers into a dynasty, threw his support behind his old team to tank the season.

The Hall of Famer, speaking at an event in New York City, encouraged his club to lose for the sake of getting a high draft pick.

“I hope the Lakers lose every game,” he said. “Because if you’re going to lose, lose. I’m serious.”

The Lakers, who improved to 6-16 with Tuesday night’s win over the Kings, are coming off the worst season in modern franchise history in 2013-14 when they went 27-55. That netted them the seventh overall draft pick, which they used on Julius Randle.

“If you’re going to lose, you have to lose because you can’t be in the middle of the pack,” Johnson said. “You either have to be great or you have to be bad to get a good pick. … I’d rather be all the way bad than be in the middle.”

Lakers coach Byron Scott, who played alongside Johnson in the 1980s, dismissed the comment.

“That’s easy to say, but when you’re behind the scenes and you’re in the trenches and you’re coaching, that’s not something that you want to do,” Scott said. “We’ve got to go out here and win every game possible. I mean, if you lose games, that’s one thing. But to go out and try to lose, that’s a different story. I think that sends a message to those guys in there that it’s going back to that losing mentality. We don’t we want to create that here.”

Dennis Rodman can’t understand the Knicks’ struggles learning the triangle offense that Phil Jackson brought to New York.

Rodman, who played for Jackson with the Bulls and Lakers, explained at an event in New York City: “I learned that in probably 15 minutes when I was in Chicago. It’s not that difficult. It’s a triangle.

“Everybody has an opportunity to touch the ball and shoot it. It seems like it goes back to Carmelo Anthony and then everything stops. What are you going to do?”

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Read More: byron scott, Carmelo Anthony, Dennis Rodman, Magic Johnson
Wednesday’s Morning Mashup: Magic Johnson defends himself following criticism from banned Clippers owner Donald Sterling 05.14.14 at 8:01 am ET
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Welcome to Wednesday’s Morning Mashup. For the latest news, start at our home page or click here for the top stories from our news wire.

MLB: Red Sox at Twins, 8:10 p.m. (NESN; WEEI-FM)
MLB: Tigers at Orioles, 12:35 (MLB Network)
MLB: Yankees at Mets, 7 p.m. (ESPN)
NHL playoffs: Canadiens at Bruins, 7 p.m. (NBCSN)
NHL playoffs: Ducks at Kings, 9:30 p.m. (NBCSN)
NBA playoffs: Nets at Heat, 7 p.m. (TNT)
NBA playoffs: Trail Blazers at Spurs, 9:30 p.m. (TNT)
Soccer: UEFA Europa final, Sevilla vs. Benfica, 2:30 p.m. (FS1)


Magic Johnson responded to criticism from Donald Sterling by calling the suspended Clippers owner’s latest comments “disturbing” and “sad.”

In an earlier interview with CNN’s Anderson Cooper, Sterling said Johnson is not a good role model for children because he became HIV positive due to his irresponsible sexual behavior. He also questioned Johnson’s financial commitment to the African-American community.

“That’s his opinion if he things I’m not a role model,” Johnson told TMZ. “I know the things that I’ve done in urban America and for people.”

Johnson also sat down with Cooper and said Sterling is struggling with the fact that he “is not welcome back in the NBA.”

“He’s trying to find something that he can grab on to help him save his team. And it’s not going to happen. It’s not going to happen,” Johnson told CNN. “The board of governors now have to do their job. Adam Silver, our commissioner of the NBA, did a wonderful job of banning him for life. Now the board of governors have got to do their job.”

Johnson said Sterling called him after the tape of Sterling’s racist comments — including specific mentions of Johnson — was released, but the owner never apologized to him.

“I’m tired of talking about Donald, it’s a shame, I wish I would had did something to deserve this,” Johnson told CNN. “[I take] a photo with a young lady and I have to answer all these questions.”

Shelly Sterling, meanwhile, said she thinks her husband is having mental issues.

“He’s not the man I know, or I knew,” she told NBC’s “Today” show. “There’s something wrong. I really think, personally, he has dementia.”

— The Clippers did their best to tune out the Sterling distraction in Game 5 of the Western Conference semifinals, but they squandered a seven-point lead inside the final minute and dropped a controversial 105-104 decision to the Thunder on Tuesday night in Oklahoma City.

“We were robbed,” Clippers coach Doc Rivers said, referring to an out-of-bounds call with 11 seconds left that went in favor of the home team — and stood after a review.

“That could be a series-defining call,” Rivers said. “And that’s not right.”

On the ensuing play, Chris Paul was called for touching Russell Westbrook‘s elbow on a 3-point try. Westbrook hit all three from the line for a one-point advantage with 6.4 seconds left.

Paul then had the ball stripped from him in the closing seconds as he drove the lane.

“Probably the toughest thing I’ve been through, basketball-wise,” said Paul, who also had a key turnover down the stretch. “Everything that happened there at the end is on me. It was just bad basketball.”

The Clippers got a memo from the league after a bad call in their opening-round series against the Warriors admitting the officials erred. Rivers said he doesn’t want a similar note this time.

“No, I don’t need it,” he said. “I’ll release the memo. They blew the call. That’s the memo.”

— Texans wide receiver Andre Johnson apparently is not convinced his team is on a fast track back to respectability.

The Texans were among the league’s elite in 2012 but are coming off a disastrous 2013 season and have a new coach, Bill O’Brien. Johnson, the team’s longest-tenured player, has played on just three winning teams in his 11-year career in Houston, and he acknowledged that “over time it can become very frustrating.”

When he looks at the team’s roster of quarterbacks, Johnson sees an unimpressive list that includes Case Keenum, Ryan Fitzpatrick, T.J. Yates and fourth-round draft pick Tom Savage.

Speaking to reporters at a charity event Tuesday, Johnson said: “I just kind of wonder sometimes: ‘Is this still the place for me?’ ”

ON THIS DAY TRIVIA (answer below): On May 14, 1981, the Celtics captured their 14th NBA title with a 102-91 victory over the Rockets in Game 6. Who was named finals MVP?

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Read More: Andre Johnson, Chris Paul, doc rivers, Donald Sterling
Tuesday’s Morning Mashup: Donald Sterling says Magic Johnson not a good example for kids, ‘should be ashamed of himself’ 05.13.14 at 7:40 am ET
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Welcome to Tuesday’s Morning Mashup. For the latest news, start at our home page or click here for the top stories from our news wire.

MLB: Red Sox at Twins, 8:10 p.m. (NESN; WEEI-FM)
MLB : Mets at Yankees, 7 p.m. (MLB Network)
NBA playoffs: Wizards at Pacers, 7 p.m. (TNT)
NBA playoffs: Clippers at Thunder, 9:30 p.m. (TNT)
NHL playoffs: Rangers at Penguins, 7 p.m. (NBCSN)
NHL playoffs: Blackhawks at Wild, 9 p.m. (CNBC)


Donald Sterling apologized and insisted he is not a racist in an interview with CNN’s Anderson Cooper that aired Monday, but the suspended Clippers owner made more news with his ill-timed criticism of Magic Johnson.

Sterling both praised and criticized Johnson, saying the Lakers legend was a bad example for the children of Los Angeles because he became HIV-positive due to his irresponsible behavior.

“He acts so holy,” Sterling said. “He made love to every girl in every city in America, and he had AIDS, and when he had those AIDS, I went to my synagogue and I prayed for him, I hope he could live and be well. I didn’t criticize him. I could have. Is he an example for children? You know, because he has money, he’€™s able to treat himself. But Magic Johnson is irrelevant in this thing. He didn’€™t do anything harmful to anybody and I respect him and I admire everything that he does. I’€™d like to help even more if he would offer me an opportunity to help. I like to help minorities.

“If I said anything wrong, I’€™m sorry. He’€™s a good person. I mean, what am I going to say? Has he done everything he can do to help minorities? I don’€™t think so. But I’€™ll say it, he’€™s great. But I don’€™t think he’€™s a good example for the children of Los Angeles.”

Added Sterling: “What kind of a guy goes to every city, has sex with every girl, then he catches HIV. Is that someone we want to respect and tell our kids about? I think he should be ashamed of himself.”

Johnson, who has expressed an interest in buying the Clippers — something that irked Sterling, who said Johnson initially expressed a desire to help him retain ownership of the team — took the high road, tweeting: I’d rather be talking about these great NBA Playoffs than Donald Sterling’s interview.

Clippers coach Doc Rivers was not impressed with Sterling’s comments.

“I’ll stand by Magic every day of the year because I’ve known him for a long time,” Rivers said. “Having said that, I don’t know what’s going on out there. I tried not to get involved in that part of it right now. Whatever it is, that doesn’t sound like much of an apology to me.”

Johnny Manziel leads the post-NFL draft jersey sales, with Michael Sam in second place despite being drafted two days later. Top overall selection Jadeveon Clowney ranks third, followed by Teddy Bridgewater and Blake Bortles.

“This is unprecedented for a Day 3 pick, let alone a seventh-round pick, to crack the top five rookies sold following draft weekend,” NFL spokeswoman Joanna Hunter told

ESPN‘s Darren Rovell reports that Manziel has the top-selling jersey among all NFL players since April 1, and more Manziel jerseys were sold during draft weekend than those of Robert Griffin III, Andrew Luck and Tim Tebow during their draft weekends combined.

— One day after Bruins forward Shawn Thornton was fined $2,820.52 for squirting water at Canadiens defenseman P.K. Subban from the bench, Rangers goalie Henrik Lundqvist was fined $5,000 for squirting Penguins forward Sidney Crosby during a scrum in front of the goal.

The incident took place as the second period ended. Lundqvist grabbed his water bottle, skated by Crosby while the Penguins star was on the ice tangling with a Ranger, and squirted him in the face.

Lundqvist and Thornton both received the maximum fine — which is based on a percentage of the player’s salary — the NHL can assess without a hearing.

The Rangers and Penguins meet in Game 7 of their series Tuesday in Pittsburgh.

ON THIS DAY TRIVIA (answer below): On May 13, 1991, which two former Celtics — teammates in Boston in the late 1970s — were inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame?

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Read More: doc rivers, Donald Sterling, Henrik Lundqvist, Johnny Manziel
Thursday’s Morning Mashup: Lakers coach Mike D’Antoni quits, much to Magic Johnson’s delight 05.01.14 at 8:03 am ET
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Welcome to Thursday’s Morning Mashup. For the latest news, start at our home page or click here for the top stories from our news wire.

MLB: Rays at Red Sox, Game 1, 1:05 p.m. (NESN; WEEI-FM)
MLB: Rays at Red Sox, Game 2, 7:10 p.m. (NESN; WEEI-FM)
MLB: Dodgers at Twins, 1 p.m. (MLB Network)
MLB: Mariners at Yankees, 7 p.m. (MLB Network)
NHL playoffs: Canadiens at Bruins, 7:30 p.m. (NBCSN)
NBA playoffs: Pacers at Hawks, 7 p.m. (NBATV)
NBA playoffs: Thunder at Grizzlies, 8 p.m. (TNT)
NBA playoffs: Clippers at Warriors, 10:30 p.m. (TNT)
Soccer: UEFA Europa, Benfica at Juventus, 3 p.m. (FS1)


— The Lakers are looking for a coach after Mike D’Antoni resigned Wednesday after a 27-55 season, the Lakers’ worst in over a half-century, when he could not get a commitment from management to pick up his option for 2015-16.

D’Antoni, 62, was on the job less than two seasons, taking over for Mike Brown early in the 2012-13 campaign. He had one year remaining on his contract worth a reported $4 million plus the option year at the same amount.

“In order for Mike to have done his job, we felt that having the option year picked up would have changed the narrative,” D’Antoni’s agent, Warren LeGarie, told the Los Angeles Times. “They knew that Mike would have been the coach and there would have been a different reaction. It would have been difficult for him to do his job without it.”

Lakers veterans Kobe Bryant and Pau Gasol openly questioned D’Antoni’s strategy during the season, which LeGarie appeared to reference in his comments.

“It was an impossible decision for Mike. He loved the guys on the team, the young guys. He clearly felt he had impacted their development and they had a real good buy-in on this. But clearly there wasn’€™t enough there to get us past some of the issues,” LeGarie said.

Magic Johnson did not hesitate in showing his pleasure that his former team will be headed in a new direction.

Tweeted Johnson: Happy days are here again! Mike D’Antoni resigns as the Lakers coach. I couldn’t be happier!


The Lakers issued a statement from general manager Mitch Kupchak that read: “Given the circumstances, I don’t know that anybody could have done a better job than Mike did the past two seasons. On behalf of the Lakers, we thank Mike for the work ethic, professionalism and positive attitude that he brought to the team every day. We wish him the best of luck.”

— NBA owners on the advisory/finance committee will meet Thursday via a conference call to discuss how to proceed in the league’s attempt to remove Donald Sterling as owner of the Clippers following his racist comments.

Timberwolves owner Glen Taylor chairs the 10-member committee, which includes Celtics owner Wyc Grousbeck, Knicks boss James Dolan and Lakers executive Jeanie Buss.

Commissioner Adam Silver said Tuesday upon announcing Sterling’s suspension that he was confident he would have the three-fourths vote of league owners required to force Sterling to sell the team.

— One day after receiving a police citation for shoplifting a reported $32.72 worth of crab legs and crawfish from a Publix supermarket in Tallahassee, Fla., Florida State Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback Jameis Winston apologized for his “mistake.” Winston, who was suspended from the Seminoles baseball team, insisted that he simply forgot to pay.

Winston, who is required to complete 20 hours of community service as part of the program that will clear his record, released a statement through his attorney, Tim Jansen, who also represented him in his sexual assault case in December.

“As reported in the news, [Tuesday] night I received an adult civil citation for petit theft from a local supermarket,” the statement reads. “I went to the supermarket with the intent to purchase dinner but made a terrible mistake for which I’€™m taking full responsibility. In a moment of youthful ignorance, I walked out of the store without paying for one of my items.

“I realize that I am in the public spotlight and my conduct needs to be above reproach. Over the last year I’€™ve learned that my accomplishments on the fields can be a wonderful thing for my school, teammates, friends, and family. At the same time, I must realize that my mistakes are magnified and can bring great embarrassment to all those who support me every day. I make no excuses for my actions and will learn and grow from this unfortunate situation. I hope and pray my friends and family will view me as the 20-year-old young man that I am, and support me through this unfortunate situation.

“I am grateful to be able to participate in the adult citation program where I will complete community service.”

ON THIS DAY TRIVIA (answer below): On May 1, 1977, goalie Gerry Cheevers and the Bruins blanked the Flyers, 3-0, to sweep the Stanley Cup semifinals in four games. Which Bruin scored two third-period goals (one an empty-netter)?

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Read More: Donald Sterling, Jameis Winston, Magic Johnson, Mike D'Antoni
Oprah Winfrey, Floyd Mayweather reportedly among those interested in buying Clippers 04.30.14 at 12:45 pm ET
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One day after NBA commissioner Adam Silver announced that Clippers owner Donald Sterling is banned for life and must sell the team, reports emerged regarding possible candidates.

ESPN reports that Oprah Winfrey is considering partnering with music and film executive David Geffen and Oracle CEO Larry Ellison. Geffen reportedly tried to purchase a controlling stake in the Clippers in 2010 but was not successful. Ellison has been a candidate to buy several other teams in recent years.

Boxer Floyd Mayweather Jr. also expressed an interest in the Clippers, as did rapper/entrepreneur Sean “Diddy” Combs.

Magic Johnson, the subject of much speculation regarding his interest, said Sunday night that was focused on bringing an NFL team back to Los Angeles.

Read More: Floyd Mayweather, Magic Johnson, Oprah Winfrey, Sean Combs
Thursday’s Morning Mashup: Kobe Bryant, Magic Johnson critical of Lakers front office 03.13.14 at 8:05 am ET
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Welcome to Thursday’s Morning Mashup. For the latest news, start at our home page or click here for the top stories from our news wire.

NHL: Coyotes at Bruins, 7:30 p.m. (NBCSN)
NHL: Rangers at Wild, 8 p.m., 8 p.m. (NHL Network)
NBA: Rockets at Bulls, 7 p.m. (TNT)
NBA: Lakers at Thunder, 9:30 p.m. (TNT)
College basketball: Rhode Island vs. UMass, 9 p.m. (NBCSN)
College basketball: Florida State vs. Maryland, noon (ESPN)
College basketball: Villanova vs. Seton Hall, noon (FS1)
College basketball: St. Bonaventure vs. La Salle, noon (CSNNE)
College basketball: Illinois vs. Indiana, noon (BTN)
College basketball: Kansas State vs. Iowa State, 12:30 p.m. (ESPN2)
College basketball: Houston vs. SMU, 1 p.m. (ESPNU)
College basketball: Wake Forest vs. Pittsburgh, 2 p.m. (ESPN)
College basketball: Purdue vs. Ohio State, 2:25 p.m. (BTN)
College basketball: St. John’s vs. Providence, 2:30 p.m. (FS1)
College basketball: Dayton vs. Fordham, 2:30 p.m. (NBCSN)
College basketball: Rutgers vs. Louisville, 3 p.m. (ESPN)
College basketball: San Diego State vs. Utah State, 3 p.m. (CBSSN)
College basketball: UNLV vs. Wyoming 5:30 p.m. (CBSSN)
College basketball: Duquesne vs. Richmond, 6:30 p.m. (NBCSN)
College basketball: Penn State vs. Minnesota, 6:30 p.m. (ESPN2)
College basketball: N.C. State vs. Miami, 7 p.m. (ESPN)
College basketball: UCF vs. Cincinnati, 7 p.m. (ESPNU)
College basketball: Creighton vs. DePaul, 7 p.m. (FS1)
College basketball: Northwestern vs. Iowa, 8:30 p.m. (ESPN2)
College basketball: Memphis vs. UConn, 9 p.m. (ESPNU)
College basketball: Clemson vs. Georgia Tech, 9 p.m. (ESPN)
College basketball: New Mexico vs. Fresno State, 9 p.m. (CBSSN)
College basketball: Marquette vs. Xavier, 9:30 p.m. (FS1)
College basketball: Arizona State vs. Stanford, 11:30 p.m. (FS1)
College basketball: Nevada vs. Boise State, 11:30 p.m. (CBSSN)
MLB preseason: Red Sox at Twins, 1 p.m. (MLB Network)
MLB preseason: Reds at Dodgers, 4 p.m. (MLB Network)
MLB preseason: Rockies at Athletics, 10 p.m. (MLB Network)


— The Lakers are on a downward spiral, and Kobe Bryant is not happy with the way the front office is handling the situation. And he’s got Magic Johnson in his corner.

Bryant, speaking Wednesday after the team announced he would not play again this season as he recovers from a fractured knee, said he had no patience regarding the team’s reported plans to wait until 2015 to rebuild.

“Oh, yeah, let’s just play next year and let’s just suck again,” Bryant said sarcastically. “No Absolutely not. It’s my job to go out there on the court and perform, no excuses for it. Right? You’ve got to get things down.

“Same thing with the front office. The same expectations they have of me when I perform on the court, it’s the same expectations I have for them up there.”

Bryant and Johnson both criticized the organization for passing over Phil Jackson last season and then allowing the coaching legend to join the Knicks front office this week. Bryant called out team executives (and siblings) Jim and Jeanie Buss and questioned the future of coach Mike D’Antoni.

“I think we have to start at the top in terms of the culture of our team,” he said. “What type of culture do you want to have? What type of system do you want to have? How do you want to play? It starts there.

“You’ve got to start with Jim. You’ve got to start with Jim and Jeanie and how that relationship plays out. It starts there and having a clear direction and clear authority.

“Then it goes down to the coaching staff. What’s Mike going to do? What do you want to do with Mike? It goes from there. It’s got to start from the top.”

While Bryant was talking, Johnson tweeted out his concern about the direction of the team.

“I love Jim & Jeanie Buss, but we need Phil Jackson to be the face of our great organization, the Los Angeles Lakers,” Johnson wrote in a series of tweets. “Kobe Bryant is the face of the Lakers’ team. Who is the face of the Lakers’ organization? In signing Phil Jackson, [Knicks] Owner Jim Dolan & [team executive] Steve Mills are saying to the Knicks fans, they’re ready to win now!”

Blake Griffin continues to make highlights and enemies. The Clippers star, who has had numerous run-ins with opponents this season, had a dispute with veteran Warriors forward Jermaine O’Neal that carried over into the Staples Center hallway.

O’Neal, a onetime Celtic, received a technical foul with 8:55 left in the game after he walked toward the Clippers bench to yap at Griffin before being directed away by teammates and officials.

After the game, as Griffin was making his way to a postgame press conference following Los Angeles’ 111-98 win, O’Neal shared a few choice words with the young star. Griffin would not comment on the conversation, but the Los Angeles Times reported that he told O’Neal, “Why you going to walk up on me like that? Leave that ‘€¦ on the court.” A snarling O’Neal then quickly shook Griffin’s hand and walked away, saying, “Man, I’m a monster off the court.”

Said Griffin: “Man, get out of here with that.”

Red Sox outfielder Shane Victorino is offering two fans a chance to attend spring training as his guest as part of a contest to raise money for the Shane Victorino Foundation, which benefits underprivileged children.

Fans who donate $1 or more by Monday via the new digital fundraising platform are entered into the contest. The winner and a guest will receive round-trip plane tickets, a two-night stay at a Holiday Inn Express & Suites in Fort Myers, Fla., and a visit with Victorino on the field prior to a game against the Rays on March 23.

“Partnering with Fame4Good allows me to shine a light on our foundation’€™s incredible efforts to support kids in need and it does so in a way that fans can have fun with and really get engaged,” Victorino said. “I am grateful for the opportunity to give back to the communities that have given so much to me and I look forward to meeting the lucky winner.”

ON THIS DAY TRIVIA (answer below): On March 13, 1971, who became the third player in Bruins history (and fifth in NHL history) to record 100 points in a season when he scored a goal in a 6-3 victory over the Canucks in Vancouver?

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Wednesday’s Morning Mashup: Clippers coach Doc Rivers says surprising loss to Lakers ‘a good lesson for us’ 10.30.13 at 8:10 am ET
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Welcome to Wednesday’s Morning Mashup. For the latest news, start at our home page or click here for the top stories from our news wire.

World Series: Cardinals at Red Sox, 8:07 p.m. (Fox; WEEI-FM)
NBA: Celtics at Raptors, 7 p.m. (CSNNE)
NBA: Nets at Cavaliers, 7 p.m. (NBA TV)
NBA: Lakers at Warriors, 10:30 p.m. (NBA TV)
NHL: Bruins at Penguins, 8 p.m. (NBCSN)
College football: Cincinnati at Memphis, 8 p.m. (ESPN2)


‘€¢ There’s been a lot of talk about the Clippers taking over Los Angeles from the Lakers. It will have to wait at least a little while. Despite playing without the recuperating Kobe Bryant, and sitting starters Pau Gasol and Steve Nash in the fourth quarter, the Lakers spoiled the debut of new Clippers coach Doc Rivers with a 116-103 victory Tuesday night at Staples Center.

“We were not ready tonight,” said Rivers, who before the game talked about a championship parade route for his new team. “[The Lakers] have heard for probably the last two months how good [the Clippers] were going to be … so you knew that they were going to play like this was the world championship — with that type of energy. And I thought we never matched it. Everything they did was harder than us and more physical than us. They destroyed us on the glass and destroyed us in turnovers. So it was a good lesson for us.”

Xavier Henry scored a career-high 22 points, including 12 in the fourth quarter as the Lakers scored 41 points in the period and used a 28-8 run to pull away.

“We’re a deep team, and people don’t think we’re that good,” Henry said. “That always fuels us. People are saying we’re going to finish 12th or whatever, but we have a great group of guys who go out there and play hard. We’re young. We’re athletic. We get after it.”

Added Jodie Meeks, who scored nine of his 13 points in the fourth quarter: “It’s not a bad thing to be the underdog sometimes. No expectations. We go out there and play hard. What’s the worst that can happen? We lose, and people say we’re no good?”

‘€¢ Meanwhile, prior to the game, Lakers legend (and former part-owner) Magic Johnson said he isn’t sure how the fans will respond to the team if the season plays out as expected.

“Laker fans are spoiled. I don’t know how they’re going to react now, because this is going to be a tough season,” Johnson said Tuesday in an interview on the “Max and Marcellus Show” on ESPNLA 710 radio. “This is going to be one of the roughest seasons that the Lakers have ever faced. You’re waiting on Kobe to see if he can get healthy. Nobody knows if he can be what he was. Then you’ve got Gasol — who I think is a premier big man — but he plays better when he has talent around him.

“You’ve got guys who are all on one-year contracts, and all were journeymen on other teams. Laker fans are not used to that. I don’t know if they’re going to buy into that. We’re going to see. If you want the Laker fans to really buy in and be involved, you’re going to have to win right away. I don’t see that happening. The West is tough this year.”

Johnson said he thinks Bryant can return to his “dominant” form, but he’s not sure there’s enough support on the roster.

“I’m hoping that they at least make the playoffs,” Johnson said. “But that’s going to be tough, especially without Kobe. We have to see what Kobe we’re going to get. Is he going to be that same Kobe or is he going to be hurt a little bit?”

Added Johnson: “Kobe can get 30 or 40,” Johnson said. “But you have to remember, you need at least three guys who can score. Right now I’m looking at that roster and going, ‘Who else is going to get you 15-20 a night besides Gasol and Kobe?’ ”

‘€¢ At The Atlantic, Ryan Roderberg conducted a study to determine if there’s any substance to accusations of referee bias in the NBA — specifically related to Heat executive Pat Riley, Mavericks owner Mark Cuban and Spurs center Tim Duncan.

His result? Whining by Riley and Cuban, and fallout from Duncan’s famous run-in with veteran official Joey Crawford in 2007, have yielded no apparent signs of bias.

Wrote Roderberg: “I found no systematic evidence of a referee’s personal animus negatively impacting the performance of the team in question.”

ON THIS DAY TRIVIA (answer below): On Oct. 30, 1954, the Celtics lost to the Rochester Royals, 98-95, in a game that marked the debut of which two NBA rules that had a big effect on the way the game was played?

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Friday’s Morning Mashup: Thunder’s Kendrick Perkins faces assault charge stemming from incident outside nightclub 10.11.13 at 8:11 am ET
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Welcome to Friday’s Morning Mashup. For the latest news, start at our home page or click here for the top stories from our news wire.

MLB playoffs: Dodgers at Cardinals, 8:30 p.m. (TBS; WEEI-AM)
NBA preseason: Celtics at 76ers, 7 p.m. (CSNNE)
NBA preseason: Cavaliers at Magic, 7 p.m. (NBA TV)
NHL: Islanders at Blackhawks, 8 p.m. (NHL Network)
College hockey: Western Michigan at Notre Dame, 8 p.m. (NBCSN)
College football: Temple at Cincinnati, 8:30 p.m. (ESPN)
Soccer: World Cup qualifier, Ireland at Germany, 2:30 p.m. (ESPN2)
Soccer: World Cup qualifier, Montenegro at England, 3 p.m. (FS1)
Soccer: World Cup qualifier, Panama at Mexico, 9:15 p.m. (ESPNews)


‘€¢ Thunder center Kendrick Perkins faces an assault charge stemming from an incident in July in which he allegedly punched a man and woman in an incident outside a Houston nightclub.

According to, the case initially was dismissed but was re-filed, leading to a misdemeanor assault charge for the former Celtic and his brother-in-law, Quincy Alpough. Perkins posted $1,000 bond Thursday morning.

Miketta Cotton told police she and her brother were leaving the club when their car and one in which Perkins was a passenger “backed into each other.” Tensions escalated, and Cotton’s brother, Ja’Keenan Cotton, told police that Perkins eventually got out of the car and punched him in the head, knocking him to the ground. Perkins then punched Miketta Cotton in the face with a closed fist, knocking her to the ground, she said.

A third person who was in the car with the Cottons, Catherine McGrue, said she was struck in the throat by Alpough, knocking her unconscious. All three victims said they then were kicked repeatedly by a group of people while on the ground.

“We were made aware of the allegations and take this matter seriously,” Thunder general manager Sam Presti said in a statement. “We are in the process of gathering more information and have no further comment at this time.”

In a previous incident, Perkins was arrested in 2011 in his hometown of Beaumont, Texas, and charged with public intoxication and disorderly conduct after a fight outside a bar, but those charges apparently were dropped.

Perkins, 28, averaged 4.2 points and six rebounds in 78 games last season in his second full season in Oklahoma City since being traded from the Celtics late in the 2010-11 season.

‘€¢ Heat forward Michael Beasley reportedly required medical treatment after punching himself in the head during Thursday night’s game against the Pistons, angry about making some mistakes in his first game of the preseason.

The oft-troubled Beasley, who signed a one-year, non-guaranteed contract with Miami in September after being released by the Suns following his arrest in August on marijuana charges, was running back on defense when he started hitting himself so hard that he left himself with a swollen eyebrow and needed treatment from the team’s trainer.

Beasley, who was drafted by the Heat No. 2 overall in the 2008 draft but saw his career derailed by myriad issues, said he was “just trying to teach myself to do everything hard.” The 24-year-old told the South Florida Sun-Sentinel that he was disappointed about getting a quick foul, missing a defensive rotation and then failing to come up with a blocked shot.

However, Beasley said that overall, the experience was a positive one.

“It was fun,” he said, after finishing with nine points and two rebounds in nine minutes. “I didn’t think I was going to play. It was the first time back. I’m trying to find my way.”

‘€¢ Magic Johnson announced Thursday that he will not return to the ESPN/ABC studio as an analyst due to his myriad commitments, including his ownership of the Dodgers and other business ventures.

“I love ESPN. Unfortunately, due to the nature of my schedule and other commitments, I don’t feel confident that I can continue to devote the time needed to thrive in my role,” Johnson said in a statement. “I will always feel a strong connection to the ESPN family and I enjoyed working with them very much.”

Johnson joined ESPN’s “NBA Countdown” crew in 2011.

“We appreciate Magic’s contributions and wish him well in his future endeavors,” ESPN executive vice president of production John Wildjack said in a statement. “We are in the process of determining our NBA commentator roles for the upcoming season.”

The network also announced that longtime basketball analyst/sideline reporter Doris Burke (a Providence College Hall of Famer) will work one day per week on “NBA Countdown.”

ON THIS DAY TRIVIA (answer below): On Oct. 11, 1967, the Impossible Dream Red Sox forced the World Series to the limit with an 8-4 victory over the Cardinals in Game 6. Which unheralded Sox rookie from New England started the game and pitched 5 1/3 innings of two-run ball but did not get the win?

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