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Lebron James has triple-double, Cavs beat Hornets for 7th straight

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The Cavaliers’ sleeveless black jerseys already had LeBron James‘ stamp of approval, though a change in shoes might have been the difference Friday night.

James had 27 points, 16 rebounds and 13 assists, J.R. Smith made the tiebreaking free throw with 48 seconds left, and Cleveland extended its winning streak to seven straight with a 100-99 victory over the Charlotte Hornets.

James had season highs in rebounds and assists in his 57th career triple-double. He switched from yellow to black shoes after scoring six points in the first half.  “I’m a little weird sometimes,” he said. “I wasn’t playing well, to my standards. I wanted to try and make my second half better than my first half and I was able to make a couple of plays.”

For Black Friday, the Cavaliers wore black uniforms. Cleveland also wore black jerseys when it won the first championship in franchise history, but the current edition is minus the sleeves from Game 7 of the 2016 NBA Finals.

James is 41-6 in the regular season against Charlotte and the Cavaliers have won 12 of 13, including eight straight against the Hornets.

After Smith split a pair from the line, both teams missed 3-point attempts and Charlotte called time with 11.1 seconds left. Jeremy Lamb missed a 3-pointer after the Hornets inbounded at midcourt and the rebound was tapped out to Kemba Walker, but his 3-point attempt fell well short after James got a hand on the shot.

James forced Walker to pass the ball on the inbounds play, but the Hornets had one last chance when after Marvin Williams batted the rebound toward midcourt.  “I looked up at the timer and there was still one second left,” James said. “I just tried to fly to get another contest. We were able to get the stop that we needed.”

Smith had 16 points, while Kevin Love had 11 points and 13 rebounds for Cleveland.

Dwight Howard had 20 points and 13 rebounds for Charlotte, which fell to 1-8 on the road. Michael Kidd-Gilchrist and Marvin Williams scored 17 points for the Hornets, whose three-game winning streak ended.  “That’s the way Cleveland plays. They’re a battle-tested team with those guys,” Williams said. “That’s why they’ve been to the Finals three straight years and LeBron has been there seven straight years.”

Howard’s two free throws and Kidd-Gilchrist’s layup following James’ turnover gave Charlotte a 98-93 lead.

James made a foul shot and converted a three-point play, cutting the lead to one. Kidd-Gilchrist hit a free throw but James scored on a drive that tied the game with 1:48 left.

Cavaliers point guard Derrick Rose left the team earlier this week to handle a personal matter. Coach Tyronn Lue expects Rose, who has played in just seven of Cleveland’s 19 games this season because of a left ankle injury, to return to the team.

Hornets: G Nicolas Batum (bruised left elbow) was unavailable after being re-injured Wednesday against Washington and is day to day. He has only played in five games because of elbow injuries. Lamb returned to the starting lineup in Batum’s spot. … Charlotte’s only road win came against Memphis on Oct. 30.

Cavaliers: Rose sustained his injury while driving to the basket on Oct. 20 in Milwaukee. He’s averaging 14.3 points in his first season with Cleveland. … G Iman Shumpert (sore left knee) could return Monday after missing his third straight game.

Howard missed all three of his field goal attempts in the fourth quarter, but was 5 of 6 at the free throw line. He was 6 of 9 for the game.  “They double-teamed me when I got the ball and didn’t allow me to get into a good rhythm down the stretch,” he said.

Cleveland coach Tyronn Lue was pleased with the Cavaliers’ defense down the stretch. “The guys understand what we’re doing and what we want,” he said. “In the second half we held them to 42 points, which was great.”

 

 

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Lona assistant coach hospitalized, Gaels player dismissed after reported physical altercation

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A physical altercation between Iona assistant basketball coach Garfield Johns and one of the team’s top players, Roland Griffin, left Johns hospitalized and Griffin without a team after he was dismissed following the incident.

Jeff Goodman of Stadium first reported the news and cited a source close to the situation in reporting that Johns spent nearly eight hours in the hospital on Monday. He sustained a head injury and did not return to work this week.

“We got in each other’s face,” Griffin told Stadium. “It was really heated. He eventually grabbed me by the jacket and tried to throw me down on the ground physically. We were against the locker, wrestling against the locker. He was grabbing me and holding me.”

According to the report, Griffin punched Johns “four or five times” in the incident, which stemmed from a disagreement about whether Griffin had study hall on Monday.

“I had a tutor later and wasn’t scheduled for study hall,” Griffin told Stadium. “He started yelling at me.”

Griffin was a preseason All-MAAC second-team selection for the Gaels. He averaged 11.2 points and 5.2 rebounds per game last season for Iona.

 

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Atlanta News & Entertainment

Body found in ballpark cooler before Reds-Braves game

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The body of a third-party contractor has been found inside a beer cooler at SunTrust Park.

The body was found Tuesday by a worker from the same company. Cobb County police spokeswoman Sarah O’Hara tells The Atlanta Journal-Constitution she could not say if foul play is suspected because the investigation is ongoing.

Cobb County police say in a statement that officers responded to a “call of a deceased person located at SunTrust Park” before the Atlanta Braves’ game against the Cincinnati Reds.

The Braves declined comment, referring reporters to the statement from Cobb County police.

O’Hara tells the newspaper the identity of the person would not be released until the family is notified. She says the Braves are assisting in the investigation.

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Tiger Woods shoots 1-over 71 to sit 4 back at Honda Classic

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Tiger Woods faced a rollercoaster late, but he enters the weekend right in the thick of it.

A late double bogey-bogey stretch dropped Woods to a 2 over but he fought back with a late birdie to post a 1-over 71 in the second round of the Honda Classic and put himself with four of the lead (T-14) when he reached the clubhouse at PGA National.

A week after Woods faded late at the Genesis Open to miss the cut comfortably, he has looked demonstrably better. His opening 70 was promising, especially on the ball-striking front, but he needed to back that up.

He did so on a windy and difficult Friday.

The 42-year-old looked shaky early in Round 2, hitting wayward shots over the first three holes – including an iron off the par-4 second tee that went so far left Woods ended up inside a lateral hazard.

In fact, he nearly lost that ball but ended up finding it in a plant and took an unplayable. He later made a 9-footer on the hole just to save bogey.

But Woods rolled in an 8-footer for birdie at the fourth and seemed to calm down from there. A series of pars followed, and then Woods electrified the course when he dropped a 24-footer for birdie at the ninth to go out in 1-under 34.

He was now 1 under overall and just three back.

Woods missed a good birdie chance from nine feet at the 10th but vintage Tiger reemerged at the next hole.

An iron into the rough at the par 4 forced a lay up, from which he knocked a wedge inside 13 feet. Now two off the lead, Woods faced this important par-saving putt to keep his round on track.

He drained it, and then showed what that meant by authoring a spirited fist pump. Woods then knocked one inside 9 feet at the 12th and had that birdie putt to move to 2 under and within one of the lead.Tiger

But the putt was always right and Woods settled for par.

From there, it was a scramble to the finish. Woods got up and down for pars from bunkers at 13 and 14, but his round appeared it might fall off the rails thereafter.

He immediately got swallowed by The Bear Trap (Nos. 15-17) when on the par-3 15th tee he dunked one short in the water. It would lead to a double bogey. Woods compounded the mistake by three-putting for bogey at the 16th.

He now entered No. 17, the toughest hole on the course and one of the most dangerous with water all around, 2 over and fading hard.

But Woods then hit a brilliant tee shot at the par 3, getting a draw to finish 12 feet away. He buried the putt for a huge birdie putt to move back to 1 over.

This is another great day to build on. After some early struggles, Woods looked pretty good driving the ball. His driver came alive a bit, especially on a 361-yard bomb down the fairway at the 10th.

He seemed to be hitting the shots he wanted from tee to green and most of his misses were good. His short game remains sharp and his putter was overall solid.

He just looked so comfortable, especially tee to green for a majority of the round, on a day where conditions were quite difficult.

But there remains plenty of room for improvement. Some sloppiness is definitely still there, and Woods missed some key birdie opportunities.

But through 36 holes, Woods is in firm contention to win. Just three starts in, that’s pretty exciting to see.

 

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