Sunday, January 21, 2018
Sports

Two scoring gifts keep on giving

Only Kobe Bryant and Oscar Robertson have scored more than 300 points on Christmas in their NBA careers.

Cleveland's LeBron James and Chicago's Dwyane Wade might join the club today.

Wade enters today's quintupleheader as the league's Christmas Day leading active scorer, with 277 points. It's unlikely he will still have that designation when his game starts in San Antonio (5, Ch. 28, 620-AM), given that James and the Cavaliers host Golden State immediately before that matchup (2:30, Ch. 28, 620-AM) — and James enters with 270 points in his Christmas career.

The Cavs-Warriors matchup adds the element of Kevin Durant facing James as a member of Golden State after leaving the Thunder as a free agent during the offseason.

Bryant is the all-time Christmas leader with 395 points. Robertson scored 377, Wade is third, followed by Shaquille O'Neal (272) and James.

The schedule starts at noon, with the Celtics visiting the Knicks. The rest of the schedule: Minnesota at Oklahoma City at 8 p.m., and an all-Los Angeles matchup of the Clippers at the Lakers at 10:30.

It's the ninth consecutive year that the league features five games on Christmas.

Here's more of what to know:

BY THE DOZEN: Assuming he plays, Wade will become the eighth player to appear in at least 12 Christmas games. Bryant played in 16, O'Neal, Dolph Schayes and Earl Monroe played in 13 and Robertson, Dick Van Arsdale and Johnny Green are the others. Wade still can't believe he got to play on Christmas even once. "It means a lot about what the NBA thinks of me in this game," he said.

FIRST-TIMERS: Minnesota plays on Christmas for the first time. "We're all young kids, and no matter, young, old, we all love Christmas and we love spending it with our families — but for an opportunity like we have, we're more than willing to play on Christmas," Timberwolves star Karl-Anthony Towns said.

STILL WAITING: Charlotte and Memphis haven't played on Christmas. Boston is in the lineup for the first time since 2012, but the Celtics waited much less time than other franchises to get an invite to the league's holiday party. Milwaukee hasn't played on Christmas since 1977. Other long droughts: Atlanta (since 1989), Utah (1997), Toronto (2001), Philadelphia (2001), Sacramento (2003), Indiana (2004) and Detroit (2005).

FELIZ NAVIDAD: There are 23 countries represented on the rosters of today's teams. Of the countries outside the United States, Spain leads the way with five.

TRIPLE DOUBLES: Oklahoma City's Russell Westbrook is the triple-double king this season. He already has one of those in his Christmas career as well, and he and James have a chance to become the first players with two such statlines. The others who did it once: Robertson, Billy Cunningham and John Havlicek.

Comments
What’s gone wrong with the Lightning?

What’s gone wrong with the Lightning?

It didn't take the sound of a door slamming in the dressing room Saturday night to sense this Lightning team is frustrated. Tampa Bay felt like it worked hard – at least, harder than Thursday's listless loss to Vegas – yet dropped anothe...
Updated: 4 hours ago
Lightning falls to Wild, its fifth loss in seven games

Lightning falls to Wild, its fifth loss in seven games

ST. PAUL, Minn. — The Lightning said all the right things about needing to look in the mirror and do some soul-searching during its recent funk. Veterans said they had to lead the way. Coach Jon Cooper believed this eight-game trip would "show us wha...
Updated: 11 hours ago
Why free agency hasn’t turned out fun (yet) for ex-Rays pitcher Alex Cobb

Why free agency hasn’t turned out fun (yet) for ex-Rays pitcher Alex Cobb

RHP Alex Cobb never expected to be going into late January without knowing where he was going for spring training.The longtime Ray's first foray into free agency hasn't gone as planned, much like the 150-plus others waiting for something to give in a...
Updated: 12 hours ago
Wozniacki advances to quarterfinals

Wozniacki advances to quarterfinals

MELBOURNE, Australia — Second-seeded Caroline Wozniacki is through to the Australian Open quarterfinals and with a chance to regain the No. 1 ranking in women’s tennis. Wozniacki beat Magdalena Rybarikova 6-3, 6-0 today at Rod Laver Arena. Rybarikova...
Published: 01/20/18

Sports in brief

SPORTSNO AIR FORCE GAMES; NFL BROADCASTS ABROAD IN JEOPARDYThe federal government shutdown prompted the Air Force Academy on Saturday to call off sports events and upended plans for military outside the United States wanting to follow today’s NFL con...
Published: 01/20/18
Florida wins big SEC showdown with Kentucky

Florida wins big SEC showdown with Kentucky

LEXINGTON, Ky. — Jalen Hudson came off the bench to score 17, and Chris Chiozza, Keith Stone and Kevarrius Hayes contributed clutch baskets down the stretch as Florida rallied to upset No. 18 Kentucky 66-64 Saturday night. "We were able to win it jus...
Published: 01/20/18

Avalanche climbs into playoff spot with ninth straight win

DENVER — The Avalanche has gone from pushover to powerhouse in less than a season, and its recent streak is evoking memories of past glory. Nathan MacKinnon, Erik Johnson and Mikko Rantanen had a goal and an assist each, Jonathan Bernier made 27 save...
Published: 01/20/18
After rout, LeBron scoffs at playoffs

After rout, LeBron scoffs at playoffs

CLEVELAND — LeBron James came up just short of 30,000 points. Oklahoma City nearly got there, too. Unable to stop Paul George, Russell Westbrook or Carmelo Anthony, the Cavaliers were embarrassed 148-124 Saturday by the Thunder, which not only rolled...
Published: 01/20/18
McIlroy shoots third-round 65, trails by 1 at Abu Dhabi

McIlroy shoots third-round 65, trails by 1 at Abu Dhabi

ABU DHABI, United Arab Emirates — Rory McIlroy fired 7-under 65 Saturday in the third round of the Abu Dhabi Championship to move one shot behind co-leaders Ross Fisher and Thomas Pieters. Fisher shot 65 and overnight leader Pieters added 67 to reach...
Published: 01/20/18

Sunday’s sports on TV/radio

TODAYCollege basketballMiami at N.C. StatenoonCh. 44Rutgers at MichigannoonBig TenWomen: South Carolina at KentuckynoonESPNUWomen: Marquette at VillanovanoonFS1Women: George Washington at DaytonnoonCBSSNWomen: Virginia Tech at Virginia12:30 p.m.Fox S...
Published: 01/20/18