Paul George had a 47-point triple-double, and Russell Westbrook set an NBA record for consecutive triple-doubles as the Oklahoma City Thunder beat the visiting Portland Trail Blazers 120-111 on Monday night.
FILE PHOTO – Feb 9, 2019; Houston, TX, USA; Oklahoma City Thunder forward Paul George (13) celebrates with guard Russell Westbrook (0) after a play during the fourth quarter against the Houston Rockets at Toyota Center. Mandatory Credit: Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports
George’s 3-pointer with 3:52 to play came on the 10th assist by Westbrook, who clinched his 10th consecutive triple-double. Westbrook finished with 21 points, 14 rebounds and 11 assists. Wilt Chamberlain had nine consecutive triple-doubles in 1968.
George, who contributed 12 rebounds and 10 assists, has scored 92 points over the last two games.
The win was the fourth consecutive and 11th in 12 games for the Thunder. The Trail Blazers took their third loss in four games despite getting 31 points from Damian Lillard.
Rockets 120, Mavericks 104
Hampered by a strained left shoulder, James Harden nearly had his streak of consecutive 30-point games end before coming alive down the stretch as host Houston defeated Dallas.
Harden finished with a game-high 31 points on 9-for-23 shooting and rounded out his stat line with eight rebounds, seven assists and five steals.
The Rockets relied on a collective effort to build a lead against Dallas, with four others scoring in double figures, including guard Gerald Green, who poured in 19 points in 22 minutes off the bench. Luka Doncic posted 21 points, 10 rebounds and eight assists to pace the Mavericks.
Cavaliers 107, Knicks 104
New York saw its late comeback bid fall short at Cleveland and took its 17th straight defeat — the longest single-season losing streak in franchise history. The Knicks lost 16 straight during the 2014-15 season.
Kadeem Allen scored a career-high 25 points off the bench for the Knicks, who trailed wire to wire but had chances to tie the score or take the lead in the final minute.
Collin Sexton scored a team-high 20 points for the Cavaliers while Larry Nance Jr. registered 15 points and 16 rebounds.
Nuggets 103, Heat 87
Nikola Jokic had 23 points and 12 rebounds, Malik Beasley got hot in the fourth quarter and finished with 23 points, and host Denver beat Miami.
Monte Morris scored 17 points, and Paul Millsap had nine points and 10 rebounds in his return to the lineup for the Nuggets, who ended a three-game losing streak. Millsap played 20 minutes off the bench after missing the previous three games due to ankle soreness.
Justise Winslow had 15 points, and James Johnson scored 14 for the Heat.
Bucks 112, Bulls 99
Giannis Antetokounmpo returned from a one-game rest to score a game-high 29 points, leading Milwaukee to a victory at Chicago.
Antetokounmpo produced his fifth straight game with 29 or more points, a stretch during which he has averaged 33.6 points per game. Eric Bledsoe (19 points) also helped the Bucks win their six straight on the road.
Zach LaVine had 27 points for the Bulls, who lost their 11th consecutive home game.
Timberwolves 130, Clippers 120
Karl-Anthony Towns had 24 points and 10 rebounds, and Minnesota ended a four-game losing streak with a win over Los Angeles in Minneapolis.
Minnesota’s Derrick Rose returned after missing the past three games with an ankle injury and scored 22 points off the bench. The Timberwolves’ Andrew Wiggins sat out due to an illness.
Lou Williams scored a season-high 45 points off the bench, including 21 in the fourth quarter for the Clippers, who went 3-3 on their six-game road trip.
Raptors 127, Nets 125
Kawhi Leonard banked in the go-ahead field goal with 4.2 seconds, and he finished with 30 points and eight assists to help Toronto beat visiting Brooklyn.
Marc Gasol added 16 points — 11 in the fourth quarter — for the Raptors, who have won five in a row. Toronto’s Serge Ibaka added 18 points and 12 rebounds.
D’Angelo Russell had 28 points and 14 assists for the Nets.
Pistons 121, Wizards 112
Andre Drummond poured in 32 points, one shy of his career high, and host Detroit increased its winning streak to four games with a victory over Washington.
Drummond, who is averaging 26.3 points during the streak, also contributed 17 rebounds and four steals against Washington. Blake Griffin tossed in 31 points with nine rebounds and nine assists for the Pistons, and Reggie Jackson had 16 points.
Bradley Beal had 32 points and 10 assists to lead Washington. Bobby Portis supplied 24 points off the bench, hitting six 3-pointers, and Trevor Ariza piled up 23 points, seven rebounds and five assists.
Pacers 99, Hornets 90
Myles Turner led a balanced attack with 18 points and eight rebounds, and the Indiana beat Charlotte in Indianapolis for its sixth straight win.
Wesley Matthews started for the Pacers after being signed on Sunday, and he finished with eight points in 30 minutes, hitting two key 3-pointers in the last four minutes of the game.
Kemba Walker scored 34 points to lead the Hornets. Walker has scored 30 or more in five straight games, which ties a franchise record set by Glen Rice.
—Field Level Media
Reports: Bears to cut K Parkey in March
After a difficult season culminated by a crucial missed field goal on a potential game-winning field goal in the NFC playoffs, kicker Cody Parkey will be released by the Chicago Bears when the new league year begins in March.
FILE PHOTO: Sep 17, 2018; Chicago, IL, USA; Chicago Bears kicker Cody Parkey (1) watches his field goal during the first half against the Seattle Seahawks at Soldier Field. Mandatory Credit: Patrick Gorski-USA TODAY Sports
According to multiple reports on Friday, the team intends to cut ties with Parkey once the NFL free agency period begins on March 13.
Parkey, who turned 27 on Tuesday, endured an inconsistent season in Chicago after inking a four-year, $15 million contract last winter following the team’s release of Robbie Gould, the Bears’ all-time leading scorer who moved on to the San Francisco 49ers.
Parkey, a five-year veteran, not only missed a career-high seven field-goal attempts and three extra points during the regular season, but his 43-yard attempt in the final seconds of the NFC wild-card round against the Philadelphia Eagles first hit the upright then the crossbar before bouncing back on the field.
Despite the NFL later ruling that the kick was partially blocked, Parkey took much of the public blame for the Bears’ season ending.
Parkey began his career with the Eagles in 2014 when he made the Pro Bowl as a rookie, scoring a franchise-record 150 points while making 32 of 36 field-goal tries. In two seasons with the Eagles, Parkey never missed an extra point.
Parkey later kicked for the Cleveland Browns in 2016 and Miami Dolphins in 2017.
In January, the Bears signed Tulsa product Redford Jones after conducting a workout that reportedly included multiple hopefuls. Jones made 50 of his 67 field-goal attempts at Tulsa from 2015-17, and he does have a kick on his resume where he hit both uprights. Unlike Parkey’s double-doink, though, that 2016 attempt against Cincinnati ended up going over the crossbar for three points.
“We need more production out of that position,” Bears general manager Ryan Pace said last month after signing Jones. “We know we need to get better there, and it will be an area of focus.”
—Field Level Media
WTA roundup: Bencic upsets Svitolina to reach Dubai final
Belinda Bencic secured a spot in the final by stunning two-time champion Elina Svitolina 6-2, 3-6, 7-6 (3) on Friday at the Dubai Duty Free Championships in the United Arab Emirates.
Tennis – WTA Premier 5 – Dubai Tennis Championships – Dubai Duty Free Tennis Stadium, Dubai, United Arab Emirates – February 22, 2019 Switzerland’s Belinda Bencic in action during the Semi Final against Ukraine’s Elina Svitolina REUTERS/Satish Kumar
Bencic trailed 5-3 in the final set before recovering to defeat the sixth-seeded Svitolina. She will face second-seeded Petra Kvitova in the championship match after the Czech Republic star defeated Taiwan’s Su-Wei Hsieh 3-6, 6-2, 6-4.
“I think I’m always the most proud of how I fight,” Bencic said after posting the victory. “Even when I lose, I learned myself to just look in the mirror and be proud of myself when I’m fighting, when I’m giving my all, when I’m trying to do what I have to do.”
Bencic won eight consecutive points after Svitolina was in position to close out the match. Then the Switzerland native carried the momentum into the tiebreaker to notch one of the biggest victories of her career by outdueling the Ukrainian.
“Basically, I stayed in the zone, even in (the) tiebreak,” Bencic said. “I was barely breathing, just playing automatic. You are not thinking any more. It’s where the instincts just guide you through it.”
Bencic will be seeking her third career title when she squares off with Kvitova, who will be shooting for her 27th.
Kvitova dropped the first set on Friday before recovering to win the last two.
“It was a tough one today, for sure,” Kvitova said. “She really didn’t give me anything for free. It was a tough first set. I’m glad that I was able to came back in the second. I didn’t play great at the end of the first.
“I think I’m pleased with my kind of mental focus after losing the first set, that I was calmer when I came back and played from the beginning of the second set. I still kind of felt that I can do that somehow. I don’t know. It was something weird.”
Kvitova overcame eight double faults to claim the victory.
Hungarian Ladies Open
Top-seeded Alison Van Uytvanck defeated Ukraine’s Kateryna Kozlova 3-6, 6-1, 6-4 to advance to the semifinals in Budapest.
Van Uytvanck, of Belgium, will face fifth-seeded Ekaterina Alexandrova in the semis. The Russian dispatched third-seeded Frenchwoman Pauline Parmentier 6-3, 6-2.
Eighth-seeded Marketa Vondrousova of the Czech Republic will face Russian Anastasia Potapova in the other semi. Vondrousova outlasted Romania’s Irina-Camelia Begu 5-7, 6-1, 6-3 while the 17-year-old Potapova fought past Romania’s Sorana Cirstea 6-4, 6-7 (5), 7-5 in 2 hours, 50 minutes.
—Field Level Media
Patriots owner Robert Kraft facing charges of solicitation of prostitution
New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft is facing charges of misdemeanor solicitation of prostitution after he was twice videotaped paying for a sex act at an illicit massage parlor, police in Florida said Friday.
The 77-year-old Kraft was one of 25 people involved in the alleged solicitation at the Orchids of Asia Day Spa in Jupiter.
Michael Edmondson, spokesman for the state attorney’s office in Palm Beach County, told ESPN that the nature of any charges that the 25 people face will not be released until next week.
Kraft has denied wrongdoing.
The potential charges come amid a widespread crackdown on sex trafficking in Florida from Palm Beach to Orlando. Hundreds of arrest warrants have been issued in recent days as result of a six-month investigation, and more are expected. Ten spas have been closed, and several people charged with sex trafficking have been taken into custody.
Police said they secretly planted undercover cameras in targeted massage parlors and recorded the interactions between men and the female employees.
In a statement, a spokesperson for Kraft said they “categorically deny that Mr. Kraft engaged in any illegal activity. Because it is a judicial matter, we will not be commenting further.”
The NFL said it is “aware of the ongoing law enforcement matter and will continue to monitor developments.”
The individuals named as having solicited prostitutes could be facing either a first- or second-degree misdemeanor for each count. A second-degree charge carries up to a 60-day jail sentence and a $500 fine; a first-degree charge carries up to a year in jail and a $1,000 fine.
Most people charged for the first time with soliciting a prostitute in Florida are allowed to enter a diversion program, said attorney David Weinstein, a former prosecutor. Kraft would have to perform 100 hours of community service and pay to attend an educational program about the negative effects of prostitution and human trafficking.
Jupiter Police Chief Daniel Kerr said he was shocked to learn Kraft, who is worth $6 billion, was allegedly paying for sex inside a strip-mall massage parlor.
“We are as equally stunned as everyone else,” Kerr said.
Kraft lives in Massachusetts and has a home in the Palm Beach area. He is a frequent guest of President Donald Trump at his Mar-a-Lago Club. Though a Democrat, Kraft is friendly with Trump.
“Well it’s very sad. I was very surprised to see it,” Trump said at the White House on Friday. “He’s proclaimed his innocence, totally. But I’m very surprised to see it.”
Kraft’s wife, Myra Hiatt Kraft, died in 2011. He has been dating 39-year-old actress Ricki Noel Lander since 2012.
Team owners are subject to the NFL’s personal conduct policy, and owners and league employees are held to an even higher standard than players.
Indianapolis Colts owner Jim Irsay was suspended for six games in 2014 after he was arrested on drug charges. He was also fined $500,000.
Vero Beach Police Chief David Currey, whose agency has been involved in the investigation, told reporters earlier this week that the prostitutes are victims who have been trapped into the trade.
“These girls are there all day long, into the evening. They can’t leave, and they are performing sex acts,” Currey said, according to TCPalm. “Some of them may tell us they’re OK, but they’re not.”
Kraft, who made his initial fortune through a packaging company, was a Patriots season-ticket holder when he purchased the team’s previous stadium in 1988, then used his leverage to buy the team for $172 million in 1994 to keep it from moving to St. Louis.
He hired Bill Belichick to be his coach in 2000, and the team subsequently drafted quarterback Tom Brady, launching nearly two decades of success.
Under Kraft, who also owns Major League Soccer’s New England Revolution, the Patriots have been the most successful team in pro sports, having made it to 10 Super Bowls, winning six, including this year against the Los Angeles Rams.
But there also have been issues involving team actions under Belichick.
In 2007, the Patriots were caught filming signals from New York Jets coaches; New England was suspected of doing so against other teams as well, and that was confirmed later on. NFL commissioner Roger Goodell fined the Patriots $250,000 and stripped them of their 2008 first-round draft pick. Belichick was fined $500,000, the most an NFL coach ever was fined.
In the 2014 AFC Championship Game, the team — specifically Brady — was accused by the Colts of doctoring footballs.
The NFL concluded that Patriots employees were involved in deflating the footballs and Brady was “at least generally aware” it was being done. After lengthy legal battles, Brady served a four-game suspension at the beginning of the 2016 season and the Patriots were fined $1 million — the heftiest for a team in league history. New England was stripped of a first-round and a fourth-round draft choice.
Neither Kraft nor Belichick was implicated after the investigation.
Longtime Patriots captain Devin McCourty told NBC Boston, which is with him on a goodwill trip to Puerto Rico, of the Kraft news: “When you see things come out like that you really have to just let it play out. See what it is, what it isn’t, and go from there.”
Information from ESPN’s Paula Lavigne, Mike Reiss and The Associated Press was used in this report.
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