BASKETBALL

LaVine scores 31 points, Bulls rally to beat Clippers

CHICAGO (AP) — After blowing several late leads to lose games, the Chicago Bulls were able to flip the script Saturday night.
Zach LaVine scored 31 points and converted a decisive three-point play in the Bulls’ 109-106 victory over the short-handed and weary Los Angeles Clippers.
Chicago trailed by five points with less than two minutes to go. Tied at 106, the Bulls inbounded with 5.4 seconds left. LaVine got the ball near the 3-point line, drove to his right and was fouled by Montrezl Harrell as he scored with 2 seconds left.
Paul George then missed a 3-pointer at the buzzer.
“We made big plays,” LaVine said. “I think that’s what it comes down to, making plays.
“We’ve been playing good, but we just haven’t been able to get that win in the last two minutes, three minutes of the game. Hopefully, we can start stringing some together.”
Lauri Markkanen had 13 points and 17 rebounds, Thaddeus Young scored 17 points, and Denzel Valentine had 16 for the Bulls.
Harrell had 30 points and George had 27 for Los Angeles. The Clippers had won four in a row.
Besides playing for the third time in four days at the end of a six-game trip, the Clippers were without Kawhi Leonard (injury management, left knee soreness), Lou Williams (right calf), Patrick Beverly (concussion) and JaMychal Green (tailbone contusion).
This was the eighth game Leonard has missed. He scored 42 points Friday night at Minnesota.

Notre Dame uses long-range shooting to beat UCLA 75-61

SOUTH BEND, Ind. (AP) — It’s not so much the capable part for Notre Dame from 3-point land, but sometimes the willing part.
On Saturday, the Fighting Irish showed both parts.
Prentiss Hubb scored 20 points, dealt six assists and finished 5 of 10 outside the arc, and fellow sophomore guard Dane Goodwin added 16 points as Notre Dame defeated UCLA 75-61.
“We talked about how we can’t turn down the open shots,” Hubb said after the Irish finished 15 of 39 from long range for 38.5%.
“(Teammate John) Mooney said if you turn down open shots, that’s basically being selfish,” Hubb said, “because we all practice every day, work on our craft. We know each other and know we can hit open shots, so we just have to take those.”
T.J. Gibbs scored 15 points for the Irish (8-3), draining 4 of 10 on triples, while Mooney netted 14 points to go with 15 rebounds.
The Bruins (7-4) placed just one player in double digits, that being junior Chris Smith with eight of his 10 in the second half. Redshirt freshman Shareef O’Neal, the son of Shaquille O’Neal, added a team-high 11 rebounds and eight points in just 17 minutes off the bench.
Notre Dame’s Mike Brey, who was coaching his 800th collegiate game, called the willingness of his point guard to shoot a key to the win.

HOCKEY

Ducks beat Rangers in shootout after Lindholm ties it late

ANAHEIM (AP) — Trailing after 10 seconds and down 2-0 not even four minutes into their game against the New York Rangers, it would have been easy for the Anaheim Ducks to call it a day.
But the Ducks found the form that has sustained them this season, using it and a power play that finally seems to be clicking to get a big comeback win.
Hampus Lindholm tied the game on the power play with 1:46 remaining in the third period, Jakob Silfverberg and Ondrej Kase scored in the shootout, and the Ducks rallied for a 4-3 win over the Rangers on Saturday.
“You don’t want to start 2-0 down,” Lindholm said. “It would be nice to have a 2-0 lead to start a game, too, but we’ve playing some good hockey. Over 60 minutes, if you just stick with it, you’re going to get some chances.”
Silfverberg had a power-play goal, Erik Gudbranson also scored, and Rickard Rakell had three assists to tie a career high for the Ducks. John Gibson stopped three shots in the shootout after making 29 saves through overtime.
Mika Zibanejad had two goals for the second straight game and Artemi Panarin scored for the fourth consecutive game, and the Rangers still have not won consecutive games this month.
Henrik Lundqvist made 39 saves, but the Rangers ended up going 2-1-1 on their four-game road trip.
“We wanted six points, but I guess taking five isn’t a bad trip,” Rangers coach David Quinn said. “You can’t do what everybody else is doing if you want to do something special.”

Rust scores in shootout, Penguins beat Kings 5-4

PITTSBURGH (AP) — Bryan Rust has helped carry the Pittsburgh Penguins with Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin out of the lineup.
Rust scored twice in regulation and got the lone goal in the shootout, and the Penguins beat the Los Angeles Kings 5-4 on Saturday night.
“That’s just a character win,” Rust said. “We obviously have a lot of guys out. We were down by two and then up by two and they tied it up again. It was a bit of a roller-coaster game.”
Rust came through again when the Penguins needed him most.
He faked a shot on the forehand and flipped a blocker-side backhander past Kings goaltender Jonathan Quick for the deciding goal. The Kings had a chance to continue the shootout, but the puck rolled off Adrian Kempe’s stick, giving the injury-riddled Penguins their fifth win in six games.
Rust, who scored the overtime winner Thursday against Columbus, had a 5-on-3 power-play goal in the second period. Teddy Blueger and Jack Johnson scored third-period goals, while Jake Guentzel and Kris Letang both had three assists. Pittsburgh has points in 17 of its last 22 games, including 13 wins.
Tristan Jarry, who entered the game with three shutouts in his last four appearances, made 38 saves for Pittsburgh.
Tyler Toffoli, Michael Amadio, Kyle Clifford and Austin Wagner scored for the Kings, who have lost six of their last nine. Quick stopped 23 shots.
“I didn’t think we were sharp in a couple situations offensively where we could’ve finished, but for the most part it was a pretty honest effort from the guys,” Kings coach Todd McLellan said.

BASEBALL

Babe Ruth’s 500th homer bat sells for more than $1 million

LAGUNA NIGUEL (AP) — Babe Ruth has hit another one out of the ballpark.
The bat used by the legendary baseball player to hit his 500th home run was auctioned on Saturday for more than $1 million.
SCP Auctions didn’t identify the buyer. The auction was held in Laguna Niguel, California.
Ruth hit his 500th homer on Aug. 11, 1929, in a game against the Cleveland Indians. According to SCP Auctions, the ball cleared the right field wall at League Park and rolled down Lexington Avenue.
Ruth was the first of just 27 Major League Baseball players to reach that mark.
He gave the autographed bat to his friend, former Suffern, New York, Mayor Jim Rice, in the 1940s. It’s been in the family for nearly 75 years.
Another Ruth bat used to hit the first home run out of Yankee Stadium in 1923 sold for nearly $1.3 million in 2004.

HORSE RACING

2 horses die after 1st race at Southern California track

LOS ALAMITOS (AP) — Two horses have died at Los Alamitos racetrack in Orange County, adding to the death toll at Southern California tracks this year.
A 4-year-old gelding named Mighty Elijah and a 4-year-old gelding named Into a Hot Spot both died after Saturday’s first race. According to the race chart, Mighty Elijah was injured and taken off the track in a van. Into a Hot Spot collapsed after being unsaddled following the race.
Mighty Elijah was trained by Hall of Famer Jerry Hollendorfer, who has had multiple horses die this year. He was banned from Santa Anita and Golden Gate Fields, both owned by The Stronach Group. He was initially banned from Del Mar but won a court injunction in July that allowed Hollendorfer to race horses there during the summer.
The sport has been under intense scrutiny since 37 horses died at Santa Anita since last December. The California Horse Racing Board is expected to issue a report on the deaths in January. The Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office is also looking into the deaths but has yet to announce any results.
Los Alamitos’ current meet ends Sunday. Horse racing resumes at Santa Anita on Dec. 26.

SOCCER

Chinese TV pulls Arsenal game coverage after Ozil criticism

LONDON (AP) — Chinese television pulled coverage of Arsenal’s Premier League match against Manchester City after Mesut Ozil, a forward for the London club, criticized Beijing’s brutal mass crackdown on ethnic Muslims in the country.
Ozil added to condemnation of the detention of more than 1 million Uighurs and other minorities in so-called reeducation camps in China’s northwestern region of Xinjiang, where they are subjected to political indoctrination, torture, beatings, and food deprivation, as well as denial of religious and linguistic freedom.
A social media post from Ozil on Friday denounced China for burning Qurans, closing mosques and the killing of religious scholars. The Arsenal player complained that “Muslims stay quiet.”
The Chinese Football Association expressed “great indignation and disappointment” at Ozil’s comments, according to the Global Times newspaper published by the ruling Communist Party.
China’s government increasingly uses the threat of loss of access to the country’s growing market as leverage to try to control what companies, universities and others say or do abroad about political issues.
China is the Premier League’s most lucrative overseas broadcast market, with the rights sold for $700 million in the 2019-2022 cycle.
Ozil started Sunday’s game that was due to be broadcast live by the sports channel of Chinese state television before being canceled, according to the channel’s schedule app and social media account. It was due to be replaced with a recording of Tottenham’s 2-1 victory over Wolverhampton from earlier Sunday. A feed of Arsenal’s match also was canceled by streaming service PPTV.com.
Arsenal distanced itself from Ozil’s comments in a post on Chinese social media network Weibo.
“The content he expressed is entirely Ozil’s personal opinion,” the north London club said. “As a football club, Arsenal always adheres to the principle of not being involved in politics.”