Knicks close in on Heat
UNDATED (AP) — Carmelo Anthony had another 20-point game while helping the New York Knicks pull within a half-game of Miami for first place in the NBA's Eastern Conference standings.
Anthony scored 25 points and Tyson Chandler grabbed 20 rebounds as the Knicks downed Milwaukee 96-86 for their third straight win. Anthony extended his team-record string of 20-point games to 31. New York improves to 29-15 overall.
Miami had its conference lead cut by Indiana as David West scored 30 points and Paul George added 15 in the Pacers' 102-89 win over the Heat. The Pacers shot a season-high 56 percent from the field and joined the Knicks as the only teams to beat the Heat twice this season.
Elsewhere in the NBA, Chicago lost for just the third time in 11 games as Brook Lopez scored all 20 of his points during the first three quarters of Brooklyn's 93-89 win over the Bulls. Andray Blatche (AHN'-dray blatch) scored all of his 11 points in the fourth quarter, and MarShon Brooks had nine of his 13 as the reserves scored the Nets' first 20 points.
Rudy Gay made a strong debut with the Toronto Raptors, scoring 20 points in a 98-73 rout of the Los Angeles Clippers. Amir Johnson had 19 points and matched his career high with 16 rebounds as the Raptors dealt the Clippers their fifth loss in eight games.
Denver picked up its sixth consecutive win as Ty Lawson delivered 21 points and 13 assists in a 113-98 verdict over visiting New Orleans. Andre Iguodala (ihg-ah-DAH'-lah) added a game-high 24 points for the Nuggets, who own the NBA's third-best home record at 19-3.
Tayshaun Prince made his Memphis Grizzlies debut and scored 14 points in an 85-76 win over Washington. Mike Conley finished with a team-high 18 points and six assists, while Marc Gasol (gah-SAHL') added 13 and 15 rebounds to the win.
Utah was an 86-77 winner against Portland behind Al Jefferson's 21 points. Paul Millsap contributed 15 points to help the Jazz win for the eighth time in nine home games.
Paul Pierce had 14 points, 11 rebounds and seven assists as Boston handed Orlando its eighth straight loss 97-84. Kevin Garnett added 14 points and 10 rebounds for the Celtics, who are 3-0 since losing Rajon Rondo (RAH'-zhan RAHN'-doh) to a season-ending knee injury.
The Los Angeles Lakers' eight-game road losing streak is over after Pau Gasol's (paw gah-SAHLZ) 22 points and 12 rebounds led them to a 110-100 victory at Minnesota. Kobe Bryant shot just 4-for-13 but came within two assists of a triple-double, finishing with 17 points and 10 boards.
Dallas won without Dirk Nowitzki as O.J. Mayo scored 20 points and Darren Collison added 19 in a 109-99 victory at Phoenix. Vince Carter's 17 points helped the Mavericks beat the Suns for the 11th time in their last 12 meetings.
Thaddeus Young had 23 points and 15 rebounds in Philadelphia's 89-80 win over Sacramento. Jrue (juh-ROO') Holiday scored 21 points and Nick Young added 20 to help the 76ers win consecutive games for the first time since late November.
Brandon Knight's 20 points and 10 assists led Detroit's 117-99 win against Cleveland. Greg Monroe added 18 points and 16 rebounds for the Pistons.
In other NBA news:
— NBA players' association executive director Billy Hunter is being placed on an indefinite leave of absence following a report that was critical of his leadership and decision making. Union president Derek Fisher said in a statement that the union is forming an interim executive committee and advisory committee. Union attorney Ron Klempner was appointed acting executive director.
— The Chicago Bulls are without guard Kirk Hinrich (HYN'-rihk) for tonight's game at Brooklyn. Hinrich has returned to Chicago to have his right elbow examined -- the latest of his many injuries this season. He has appeared in 40 of the Bulls' 46 games this season, averaging seven points in 32 ½ minutes.
— Pacers coach Frank Vogel says Danny Granger could be back on the court before the All-Star break in mid-February. Granger has been out all season with a patellar tendinosis in his left knee, but was cleared to participate in full contact practice for the first time Thursday. Vogel says Granger is in good physical shape but not game shape.
Zetterberg fuels Detroit win
UNDATED (AP) — Henrik Zetterberg and the Detroit Red Wings managed to cool off the St. Louis Blues.
The Blues entered Friday's action 6-1, but Zetterberg recorded a hat trick and had two assists in the Red Wings' 5-3 triumph. The Swedish forward scored twice in the first 8:07 to put the Wings ahead 2-0, but the Blues stormed back to take a 3-2 lead before Zetterberg set up goals by Jonathan Ericsson and Pavel Datsyuk (DAHT'-sook). Zetterberg completed his hat trick with an empty-netter while the Blues had the man advantage.
Also on ice, seven different Tampa Bay players scored in an 8-3 rout of visiting Winnipeg. Rookie Cory Conacher had two goals and had three points, while Steven Stamkos and Vincent Lecavalier (leh-KAV'-ul-yay) each had a goal and an assist to help the Lightning take over the Eastern Conference lead at 6-1.
Jordan Schroeder (SHRAY'-dur) scored in the fourth round of the shootout and Roberto Luongo made 27 saves as Vancouver downed Chicago 2-1. Luongo also stopped all four of the Blackhawks' shootout attempts and was in line for a shutout until Patrick Kane scored a short-handed goal midway through the third period.
Third-period goals by Troy Brouwer (BROW'-ur) and Wojtek Wolski (VOY'-tehk WAHL'-skee) gave Washington a 3-2 triumph over Philadelphia. Braden Holtby turned back 29 shots to pick up his first win of the season and help the Capitals send the Flyers to their third straight loss.
Dan Ellis posted his first shutout in more than two years by making 33 saves in Carolina's 1-0 triumph over Ottawa. Neither team scored after Eric Staal notched his fifth goal of the season late in the first period.
Dallas blew an early 2-0 lead before Jamie Benn and Jaromir Jagr (YAH'-roh-meer YAH'-gur) scored shootout goals to lift the Stars past Phoenix 4-3. Kari Lehtonen (LEH'-toh-nehn) made six of his 31 saves in overtime. It was the Stars' first win in five games.
Bobby Ryan had a goal and two assists in Anaheim's 3-1 win over Minnesota. Kyle Palmieri had two goals, including the game-winner with 15:39 remaining.
Thornton suffering from concussion
BOSTON (AP) — The Boston Bruins say forward Shawn Thornton will miss 7-10 days with a concussion. He was injured in the first period of Thursday night's game against Buffalo when he fought with Sabres forward John Scott. Thornton has one goal and 25 penalty minutes this season.
Lefty still leads at midway point
SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. (AP) — For the second straight day, Phil Mickelson's final hole at the PGA's Phoenix Open put a damper on an otherwise fantastic round. However, those finishes haven't stopped him from building a four-shot lead at the midway point.
Mickelson followed Thursday's course record-tying 60 with a 6-under-par 65 that leaves him 17-under. He was on pace for a 63 or better today until his tee shot on 18 splashed into the water and led to a double-bogey. His 17-under total is a stroke off the tour record for the first two rounds of a tournament set by Pat Perez in the 2009 Bob Hope Classic and matched by David Toms at Colonial in 2011.
Bill Haas is alone in second at minus-13, one stroke ahead of Keegan Bradley and Brandt Snedeker.
Goodell makes his points
NEW ORLEANS (AP) — NFL commissioner Roger Goodell (guh-DEHL') took center stage at the Super Bowl on Friday. He issued his annual State of the Game assessment and in doing so touched on several topics:
— Regarding player safety, he said he welcomed recent comments from President Barack Obama and said the league will look into eliminating certain low blocks and improve the quality of playing fields. The commissioner also said neurosurgeons will be added to game day medical staffs. He added that the No. 1 issue in the game is taking the head out of tackles.
— On the topic of testing for human growth hormone, Goodell said he believed there will be an agreement soon with the players union. He said he expects one to be in place before the start of the 2013 season.
— On the topic of the New Orleans' Saints bounty scandal, Goodell said his biggest regret is that he can't get everyone to recognize bounties need to be eliminated from the game. He said he hasn't been able to make the point clearly enough with the players' union and others that the league will not tolerate pay for hard hits.
— And regarding minority hiring, the commissioner said he wants a "new generation" of the Rooney Rule because "we didn't have the outcomes we wanted" when none of 15 recent coach and general manager jobs was given to a minority candidate.
Earlier in the day, in their final news conference, coaches John and Jim Harbaugh discussed not only the game but sibling rivalry. John is the coach of the AFC champion Ravens, while Jim coaches the NFC champion 49ers.
Normally the Super Bowl coaches have separate news conferences on the Friday of Super Bowl week but because of the uniqueness of the Harbaughs being brothers, a joint session took place.
Houston's Foster denies report of heart procedure
HOUSTON (AP) — Houston Texans running back Arian Foster says a report on the NFL Network that he is considering a heart procedure is wrong. He goes on to say he has not spoken to his doctors about "any surgery" after a report that he was likely to undergo a heart procedure in about a month.
The NFL Network reported that Foster was considering an ablation procedure to address a heart issue he's had since he was 12.
Foster said in a statement that he has "no complications with my blood pumper."
Going Miles for a good deal
BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) — LSU football coach Les Miles has a new seven-year contract that pays him a $4.3 million annual salary and keeps him in Tiger Stadium through the 2019 season. The university system's Board of Supervisors backed the contract extension today, giving Miles a 15-percent raise. Miles has been head coach since 2005 and is second on the team's all-time wins list, going 85-21.
Hafner works out deal with New York
NEW YORK (AP) — Travis Hafner and the New York Yankees have agreed to a $2 million, one-year contract that allows him to earn up to $4 million more in bonuses based on plate appearances. Limited by injuries the past five seasons, the 35-year-old gives the Yankees a designated hitter with power potential from the left side of the plate.
Hafner played in only 66 games for Cleveland last year because of knee and back problems and hit .228 with 12 homers and 34 RBIs in 263 at-bats.
Checking out other major league news:
— Cardinals left-hander Marc Rzepczynski (ZEHP'-chihn-skee) has agreed to a $1.1 million, one-year contract and avoided salary arbitration. The 27-year-old was 1-3 with a 4.24 ERA in 70 games last year, when he made $501,000.
— The Boston Red Sox are closer to acquiring free-agent first baseman Lyle Overbay. An official with knowledge of the deal says the career .270 hitter has agreed to a deal.
— The Cincinnati Reds have worked out a one-year, $1 million contract with lefty pitcher Manny Parra and agreed to a minor league pact with catcher Miguel Olivo (oh-LEE'-voh). Parra was 3-10 with a 5.06 ERA in 16 starts and 26 relief appearances last season. Olivo was a .222 hitter with 12 RBIs in 315 at-bats for Seattle in 2012.
— The New York Mets have agreed to a minor league contract with outfielder Marlon Byrd, who served a 50-game suspension last season after testing positive in June for a performance enhancing drug while he was a free agent.
U.S. sweeps Friday singles
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (AP) — The United States has a 2-0 lead over Brazil in the first round of Davis Cup.
Sam Querrey opened with a 6-3, 6-4, 6-4 win over Thomaz Bellucci before John Isner knocked off Thiago Alves 6-3, 7-6, 6-3.
The Bryan brothers can clinch it for the Americans by winning Saturday's doubles match.