Friday’s Sports In Brief
PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) After the Portland Trail Blazers overcame Russell Westbrook’s third straight triple-double, Damian Lillard sensed his team was recapturing its form of earlier this season.
Oklahoma City can only hope it didn’t lose Westbrook along with the game.
Lillard and LaMarcus Aldridge each scored 29 points and Portland rallied to beat the Oklahoma City Thunder 115-112 Friday night. Aldridge added 16 rebounds.
Westbrook, who fell and was hit in the face by the knee of onrushing teammate Andre Roberson in the final seconds, had 40 points, 13 rebounds and 11 assists. He became the first player to string together three triple-doubles since LeBron James in 2009. Westbrook, who had a noticeable imprint on his right cheek, did not speak to reporters following the game while he was evaluated. There was no immediate word on his condition.
INDIANAPOLIS (AP) – George Hill took center stage with the biggest stars sitting.
Hill finished with 15 points, 10 rebounds and 12 assists, and capped the first triple-double of his career with three free throws in the final 30 seconds to seal the Indiana Pacers’ 93-86 victory over the Cleveland Cavaliers.
With LeBron James out because of a sore back, Kyrie Irving back in Cleveland with an injured left shoulder and Paul George on the bench with a broken right leg, Hill delivered one of his most memorable performances.
Irving’s absence was expected. He had been listed as doubtful after hurting his left shoulder Thursday night. James’ absence was announced 90 minutes before tip-off by coach David Blatt.
CHICAGO (AP) – The Chicago Bulls can breathe a little easier. They expect Derrick Rose to return this season from his latest knee surgery.
General manager Gar Forman said the star point guard will miss 4-6 weeks after the operation to fix a medial meniscus tear in his right knee. Forman described it as a quick outpatient procedure and said Rose was able to walk out of the hospital.
Rose played in only 10 games last season before having surgery for a similar injury in November 2013, cutting short his long-awaited comeback from a torn anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee. He had the meniscus reattached in that operation.
Team physician Dr. Brian Cole, who operated on him last year and repaired the ACL in 2012, removed the damaged part this time. The procedure could lead to arthritis later in life, but Forman said it ”should eliminate” the possibility of another tear, something the Bulls were told could happen after the operation last season.
CLEVELAND (AP) – The Browns have yet another new quarterback, and this one has a familiar last name.
Josh McCown, who went 1-10 as Tampa Bay’s starter last season, agreed to terms on a three-year contract with Cleveland. McCown’s younger brother, Luke, played for the Browns in 2004 – one of 22 different starting quarterbacks the Browns have used since 1999.
McCown will likely compete for the starting job, but if he doesn’t win it, he can serve as a mentor for Johnny Manziel and Connor Shaw. Or possibly be a backup if the Browns sign another veteran in free agency or draft one of the top college prospects in this year’s draft.
McCown’s signing also likely means the Browns have decided not to re-sign Brian Hoyer, who won 10 games for them the past two seasons.
LOS ANGELES (AP) – A report commissioned by the developer of a downtown Los Angeles football stadium warns that a rival project nearby could be a potential terrorist target because of its proximity to Los Angeles International Airport.
The report was released at a time when several potential stadium projects are competing to bring an NFL team to Southern California, two decades after the Rams and Raiders pulled out.
The 14-page report was commissioned by Anschutz Entertainment Group, which wants to build a stadium in downtown Los Angeles. A development venture linked to Rams owner Stan Kroenke has proposed a stadium in Inglewood, about 10 miles from downtown.
PALM BEACH GARDENS, Fla. (AP) – Rory McIlroy’s first PGA Tour event in five months lasted only two days.
His road to the Masters hit a speed bump Friday in the Honda Classic when the world’s No. 1 player managed only one birdie in the rain, stumbled badly down the stretch and headed home for the weekend after a 4-over 74, the first time in nearly a year he had consecutive rounds over par. He shot 73 in the first round.
The cut officially will not be made until Saturday because of a rain delay of nearly four hours, though McIlroy knew the score.
Patrick Reed recovered from a double bogey early in his round by playing bogey-free the rest of the way for another 67. He was the clubhouse leader at 6-under 134. None of the late starters had enough light to play more than 12 holes before the second round was suspended by darkness. Brendan Steele birdied all four holes he played and was at 8 under.
HAMPTON, Ga. (AP) – Joey Logano is on quite a roll, following up his victory in the Daytona 500 by taking the pole for Sunday’s NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Atlanta Motor Speedway.
NASCAR is on the defensive after 13 drivers – including four former champions – didn’t even get on the track for qualifying after failing to pass inspection.
Logano led the final session of qualifying with a blistering speed of 194.683 mph. Daytona runner-up Kevin Harvick (193.792) will start on the outside of the front row.
Jeff Gordon, Jimmie Johnson, Tony Stewart and Matt Kenseth were among the nine of the 13 who didn’t get a chance to qualify but will start at the back of the pack based on their points from last season. Mike Wallace, Matt DiBenedetto, Michael Annett and Reed Sorenson were bumped out of the 43-car field without getting a chance to take a lap.
HAMPTON, Ga. (AP) – Travis Kvapil’s NASCAR Sprint Cup car was stolen early Friday from a hotel parking lot, forcing him to withdraw from a race this weekend at Atlanta Motor Speedway.
The No. 44 car from small-budget Team XTREME was still missing as the other teams took the track for practice, though no one was quite sure what the thieves could do with the $250,000 Chevrolet race car.
The team didn’t have a backup car in Atlanta, so it was forced to drop out when the stolen machine couldn’t be located in time for NASCAR’s mandatory inspection.