BASKETBALL

Leonard’s 1st triple-double sends Clippers past Heat 122-117

MIAMI (AP) — Kawhi Leonard has two NBA championships, two NBA Finals MVP awards, four All-Star selections and a string of other accolades.
And now, one triple-double.
Unbelievable as it sounds — and really, the Miami Heat could not believe it — Leonard got a triple-double for the first time Friday night. He scored 26 of his 33 points after halftime, finished with 10 rebounds and 10 assists, and carried the Los Angeles Clippers past the Heat 122-117.
“What do you mean, first triple-double? Of his career? Wow,” Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said. “That is a surprise. He’s as complete a player (as there is) in this league.”
Leonard actually got the triple-double twice. He had it in the third quarter, briefly: What was originally his 10th rebound was taken away after the stat crew gave one play a closer review. He then got it for real on a rebound with 3:55 remaining.
Clippers coach Doc Rivers was given the game ball in the locker room afterward, then dribbled it once before flipping it to Leonard as a keepsake. Leonard raised it over his head, then smiled as teammates applauded.
“It’s because of y’all,” Leonard told teammates. “Y’all made shots. So that’s all a triple-double is.”
And even with his big night, the Clippers — who dug their way out of a 15-point early hole and finished the third quarter on a 15-0 run to take control — had to hang on in the final moments.
Miami was down by 18 with 8:34 left, then went on a 24-9 run and got within three on a 3-pointer by Dion Waiters with 34 seconds remaining. But they got no closer, and Leonard sealed it by going 4 for 4 from the foul line in the final moments.
Rivers lauded Leonard for patiently waiting out Miami’s trapping schemes.
“It’s like he was a boxer,” Rivers said. “He just kind of took his time until he could throw punches.”
Landry Shamet scored 22 points for the Clippers. Lou Williams had 16 points, Montrezl Harrell added 15 and JaMychal Green 14.

Onyenwere scores 31, helps No. 10 UCLA beat Washington in OT

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Michaela Onyenwere was sitting on UCLA’s bench wearing a boot on her injured ankle and there was nothing she could do to help her team.
That changed when she was back in the lineup Friday night.
Onyenwere scored a career-high 31 points and No. 10 UCLA used an 8-1 run in overtime to seize control and beat Washington 85-80.
Natalie Chou added 18 points off the bench for the Bruins (17-1, 6-1 Pac-12), who got back on track after losing their first game of the season to USC. UCLA was the only unbeaten team in the country.
The game was tied 70-all after regulation and the Bruins sprinted to a 78-71 lead in the overtime.
“It was pretty rough to see my team go down and knowing I couldn’t do anything about it. I knew we would bounce back because we’re a bunch of fighters,” Onyenwere said. “I knew we would respond regardless if I was in or not. I was really happy to be back on the court with my teammates.”
Amber Melgoza had 14 points and Missy Peterson added 13 for Washington (10-8, 2-5), which played well but squandered a 15-point, second-quarter lead. The Huskies had 24 turnovers.
Onyenwere, who missed just that one game, shot 13 of 26 from the field and 5 for 7 from the line. In the third quarter, she made a point to be aggressive getting back in the lane and finding her shots there.
Chou came up big down the stretch. She made a 3-pointer with 44 seconds left from the baseline to give UCLA a 69-68 lead and added a steal with 11 seconds remaining. Onyenwere made one of two free throws for a 70-68 lead, but Melgoza, fouled with 4 seconds left, made both free throws, tying the game and forcing OT.

MMA

After UFC split, Cyborg is eager to claim Bellator belt

INGLEWOOD (AP) — Cris “Cyborg” Justino has done just about everything in a mixed martial arts career that began in 2005 and stretched across several continents while she scooped up titles in three major promotions.
But the 34-year-old Justino is still hungry, and still eager to accomplish another first on Saturday night when she makes her Bellator debut with yet another title fight.
Nearly five months after her acrimonious departure from the UFC, Justino (21-2) faces Julia Budd (13-2) in Bellator 238 at the Forum with her new promotion’s featherweight belt on the line.
“All my life, I’ve been the challenger in my mind,” Justino said after a recent workout at her gym in Huntington Beach. “Even when I was the champion, I put that in my mind that I was the challenger. Now that I really am (the challenger), I just go over there and do what I love to do. (Budd) has been the champion for a long time, but to be the champion in a fourth organization is a big motivation for me.”
With a victory over the Canadian champion, Justino would be the first fighter to claim title belts in four major MMA organizations. The Brazilian brawler was a champion in Strikeforce and Invicta before she moved to the UFC and won the inaugural women’s featherweight title in 2017.
“I feel blessed to have the opportunity to fight straight for a title,” Justino said. “I have to do my best, but I’m happy.”
That’s a change from her time in the UFC, where her reign was rarely harmonious.

GOLF

Woods recovers from 4-putt on No. 1 to shoot 71 in Farmers

SAN DIEGO (AP) — Tiger Woods’ last putt of the day was so much better than his first three.
Woods four-putted No. 1 on Torrey Pines South on Friday, an inauspicious start to his second round at the Farmers Insurance Open.
Playing on a course that has been so good to him over the decades, Woods reached the first green in two and had a birdie putt of just less than 25 feet. He rolled it 30 inches past the hole. His second putt shot 5½ feet past the cup. His third went 14 inches past before he finally tapped in.
“Just poa,” Woods said about the poa annua grass. “I tried to ram it in the hole and it bounced. I hit obviously a terrible third putt, pulled it. The second putt, it’s just what happens on poa. I tried to take the break out and it just bounced.”
Woods recovered with four birdies in five holes spanning the turn, and then sank a 5-foot birdie putt on 18 to finish with a 1-under 71. He was tied for 17th at 4 under heading into the weekend, six shots behind leader Ryan Palmer. Palmer shot a 10-under 62 on the North Course.
Woods has been winning at Torrey Pines since he was a teenager playing in the Junior Worlds. He’s won this tournament seven times and had his epic 2008 U.S. Open victory at Torrey Pines, the municipal course that overlooks the Pacific Ocean.
At stake this weekend is a chance to set the PGA Tour career victories record with No. 83 on the first course where his father took him to watch a PGA Tour event.
Woods said he’s not thinking about No. 83.
“Shot by shot got me to 82,” said Woods, who tied Sam Snead’s record with a wire-to-wire win at his last tournament, the Zozo Championship in Japan in late October. “It’s one of those things where it’s just a process. It’s a marathon. It’s four days. It’s a long haul. Just trying to be there at the end and you never know what happens at the end.”

BASEBALL

Fiers declines to discuss whistleblower role in cheat scam

OAKLAND (AP) — Oakland Athletics pitcher Mike Fiers didn’t have any more to say regarding his role as a whistleblower.
Fiers declined Friday to answer questions about revealing the sign-stealing scam that has engulfed Major League Baseball, instead saying he simply wanted to focus on the future. He spoke a day ahead of an A’s fan event, his first public appearance since divulging the Houston Astros used electronics to illicitly steal signs from opposing catchers in 2017.
“I don’t want this to be a distraction to them. I want them to be ready for the season,” Fiers said. “For me it’s all about getting ready for the season, playing baseball and not being a distraction to this team.”
Fiers said he would take “baseball questions.” As for the cheating scam and its aftermath, “I’m not talking about that right now,” he said.
“We’re moving forward,” he reiterated several times without saying whether he expected to face scrutiny with his decision to disclose the Astros’ cheating.
Fiers told The Athletic in a story published in November that his former club had used a camera in center field to steal signs on the way to winning the 2017 World Series championship.
His manager and teammates in Oakland were quick to applaud him for what he did.
“A lot was reported to the league, but it’s tough to get something done unless a player that was there comes out and says something. It wasn’t going to go down any other way,” A’s manager Bob Melvin said. “And this is significant enough that it needed to be addressed. And as time goes on, he’ll be revered for doing this, for making the game a better place.”
“You’re seeing more sentiment come his way right now, as it should, because there’s no place for this in baseball. This crosses a serious line. It needed to happen and MLB did what they should have done with it. And hopefully we’re past this because it’s an ugly black mark on the game,” he said.
Fiers’ disclosure of Houston’s elaborate scheme led to the season-long suspensions by MLB and ensuing firings of Astros general manager Jeff Luhnow and manager AJ Hinch. Alex Cora was dismissed by the Boston Red Sox after Commissioner Rob Manfred identified him as “an active participant” in the cheating scandal as then-Astros bench coach. Cora led Boston to a title the following year, in 2018.
The Mets also cut ties with manager Carlos Beltrán, who played for the Astros in 2017. Hired this offseason, Beltrán was let go before ever managing a game for New York.

FOOTBALL

NFL’s Saints fight to shield emails in Catholic abuse crisis

NEW ORLEANS (AP) — The New Orleans Saints are going to court to keep the public from seeing hundreds of emails that allegedly show team executives doing public relations damage control for the area’s Roman Catholic archdiocese to help it contain the fallout from a burgeoning sexual abuse crisis.
Attorneys for about two dozen men suing the church say in court filings that the 276 documents they obtained through discovery show that the NFL team, whose owner is devoutly Catholic, aided the Archdiocese of New Orleans in its “pattern and practice of concealing its crimes.”
“Obviously, the Saints should not be in the business of assisting the Archdiocese, and the Saints’ public relations team is not in the business of managing the public relations of criminals engaged in pedophilia,” the attorneys wrote in a court filing. “The Saints realize that if the documents at issue are made public, this professional sports organization also will be smearing itself.”
The Saints organization and its attorneys emphatically disputed any suggestion that the team helped the church cover up crimes. In a statement Friday, the Saints said the archdiocese sought its advice on how to handle media attention that would come from its 2018 release of its list of more than 50 clergy members “credibly accused” of sexual abuse.
“The advice was simple and never wavering. Be direct, open and fully transparent, while making sure that all law enforcement agencies were alerted,” the team said.
The team added that it has “no interest in concealing information from the press or public” and that it “merely requested the court to apply the normal rules of civil discovery.” However, attorneys for the Saints argued in court papers this month that the 2018-19 emails were intended to be private and should not be “fodder for the public.”
The archdiocese is also fighting the release of the emails.
The National Football League, which was advised of the matter by plaintiffs’ attorneys because the Saints’ emails used the team’s nfl.com domain, has not commented on the case. NFL policy says everyone who is a part of the league must refrain from “conduct detrimental to the integrity of and public confidence in” the NFL.
A court-appointed special master is expected to hear arguments in the coming weeks on whether the communications should remain confidential.
The Associated Press, which has extensively covered clergy sexual abuse in a series of stories over the past year, filed a motion with the court supporting the release of the documents as a matter of public interest.

NFL player Antonio Brown released on bail by Florida judge

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. (AP) — NFL free agent Antonio Brown was released on bail Friday after a night in a Florida jail, where he turned himself in to face charges that he and his trainer attacked the driver of a moving truck that carried some of his possessions from California.
Broward County Judge Corey Amanda Cawthon set a $110,000 bond and imposed conditions including surrendering his passport, wearing a GPS monitor, possessing no weapons or ammunition, and agreeing to a mental health evaluation and random drug testing.
Brown was released a few hours after the hearing, his lawyer said.
Brown, 31, had appeared via video in a green jail outfit, with his wrists shackled. He spoke only to answer the judge’s questions.
Prosecutors had sought no bail, pointing out that the wide receiver is a wealthy sports figure who is a risk of flight if released. They noted that police had been called to his Florida home 18 times since December, for various reasons.
But one of Brown’s lawyers, Eric Schwartzreich, said Brown deserved credit for surrendering voluntarily and had no incentive to flee.
“He could have clearly left. He’s not going to go anywhere,” Schwartzreich said. “He wanted to turn himself in.”