The daily Astorian. (Astoria, Or.) 1961-current, January 22, 2015, Image 7

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    THE DAILY ASTORIAN • THURSDAY, JANUARY 22, 2015
SPORTS
7A
Blazers’ rally comes up short against Suns
PHOENIX (AP) — Sea-
son-high points by Eric Bled-
soe with 33 and Isaiah Thomas
with 27 saved the Phoenix Suns
after they watched a 25-point
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still topped the Portland Trail
Blazers 118-113 on Wednesday
night.
The Blazers (31-12) went
up 110-105 with 2:22 to play on
a 3-pointer from leading scorer
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with 27 points. But the Suns
went on a 13-3 run to close the
game and win their seventh
straight home game.
Portland got 22 points each
for Damian Lillard and Wes-
ley Matthews and 10 rebounds
from Batum.
The Suns (26-18) have their
longest home win streak of the
season and longest since eight
straight during the 2009-2010
season.
The Blazers had a chance
to go ahead again with 20 sec-
ond left, but Lillard missed a
baseline jumper and fouled the
Suns’ P.J. Tucker.
A missed free throw by Ba-
tum also cost the Blazers a chance
to tie the game at 114. Portland’s
last chance to tie was lost when
Lillard stepped out of bounds try-
ing to catch a high inbounds pass
with 9.8 seconds left.
The Blazers, losers of four
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forward LaMarcus Aldridge
because of a left hand injury.
They still overcame their worst
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season and outscored Phoenix
80-60 from the 5:10 mark of
the second. But they couldn’t
pull it out.
The Suns outscored the
Blazers 27-2 over nine minutes
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TXDUWHUV WR WDNH FRQWURO 3RUW-
land went scoreless over the
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and almost three minutes of
the second before Will Barton’s
layup.
Gerald Green lobbed to
Miles Plumlee for a dunk, and
Phoenix led 53-31 at the 6:09
mark of the second. The Blaz-
ers trailed by as many as 25
but cut the lead to 14, 66-52, at
halftime.
SCOREBOARD
PREP SCHEDULE
TODAY
Girls Basketball — Catlin Ga-
bel at Warrenton, 6 p.m.; Ilwaco at
Ocosta, 7 p.m.
Boys Basketball — Catlin Gabel
at Warrenton, 7:45 p.m.
Swimming — Seaside at Astoria,
4 p.m.
FRIDAY
Boys Basketball — Tillamook
at Astoria, 5:30 p.m.; Seaside at
Banks, 5:30 p.m.; Neah-Kah-Nie at
Knappa, 7:45 p.m.; Jewell at Coun-
try Christian, 7 p.m.; Raymond at
Ilwaco, 7:30 p.m.
Girls Basketball — Tillamook
at Astoria, 7:15 p.m.; Seaside at
Banks, 7:15 p.m.; Neah-Kah-Nie at
Knappa, 6 p.m.; Jewell at Country
Christian, 5:30 p.m.
Wrestling — Astoria at Tillamook
Invitational, Noon
SATURDAY
Boys Basketball — NW Christian
at Ilwaco, 7:30 p.m.
Girls Basketball — NW Christian
at Ilwaco, 5:45 p.m.
Wrestling — Ilwaco at Coyote
Classic, Kittitas, 10 a.m.
BASKETBALL
HIGH SCHOOLS
Standings
Boys
Lewis & Clark League
League Overall
Portland Adv 8-1
9-7
Clatskanie
7-2
11-5
De La Salle
7-2
10-6
Rainier
6-3
6-9
Catlin Gabel
5-4
11-6
Riverdale
2-6
5-11
OR Episcopal 2-7
7-10
Warrenton
2-7
8-9
Portland Chr 1-8
3-15
Northwest League
Nestucca
6-1
11-5
Knappa
5-1
12-4
Vernonia
5-1
8-8
City Christian 4-4
8-9
Delphian
3-3
7-7
Faith Bible
2-4
5-10
Gaston
1-5
4-12
Neah-Kah-Nie 0-7
3-14
Girls
Lewis & Clark League
Portland Adv 8-1
10-6
Portland Chr 8-1
15-3
Rainier
8-1
11-5
De La Salle
5-4
5-12
OR Episcopal 4-5
9-8
Clatskanie
4-5
8-9
Riverdale
1-7
3-11
Catlin Gabel
1-8
4-13
Warrenton
1-8
1-16
Northwest League
City Christian 6-1
8-7
Vernonia
5-0
13-2
Faith Bible
4-1
9-4
Knappa
2-3
8-8
Gaston
2-4
5-11
Neah-Kah-Nie 1-5
6-7
Nestucca
0-6
3-13
AP Photos/Ross D. Franklin
Portland Trail Blazers’ Thomas Robinson, left, strips the ball from Phoenix Suns’ Isaiah Thomas during the second half of an NBA basketball game
Wednesday in Phoenix. The Suns defeated the Trail Blazers 118-113.
The Blazers rallied in the
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Suns’ lead to 93-86 with 8:57
left after Dorell Wright’s con-
ventional three-point play.
Phoenix’s lead was four
points until Thomas scored
on a soaring layup and drew a
blocking foul on Wright, mak-
ing the score 99-92 after a free
throw. Thomas kept the Blazers
at bay with another basket with
5:59 to go, giving the Suns a
six-point lead.
But the Blazers stormed
ahead 105-102 with 4:05 left on
the 3-pointer from Batum.
The Suns tied a season high
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and the total was the most the
Blazers have surrendered in
any opening period this season.
Still, the Blazers maintain a
comfortable lead in the NBA’s
Northwest Division.
Thomas scored nine of the
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and had 13 in the decisive
run. Green scored 10 of his 12
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Tip-ins
Blazers: Batum eclipsed his
season high by 10 points, and
his six 3-pointers were also a
season best. ... Wright, who
started in place of Aldridge,
scored a season high 15 points.
Suns: Phoenix has won
seven straight at home over
the Blazers. The Suns are 17-2
against Portland in 19 home
games since January of 2005.
The Suns are now 4-0 at the
halfway point of their longest
homestand in club history, eight
games. They are home through
Jan. 30. ...Thomas made the
move of the game when he
purposely slowed down his
dribble while looking away,
causing defender C.J. McCol-
lum to slow his pace. Suddenly
7KRPDVURVHXSDQGKLWDTXLFN
jumper with 2.8 seconds left in
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Up next
Blazers: Host Boston to-
night.
Suns: Host Houston Friday
night.
Portland
Trail Blaz-
ers’ Will
Barton (5)
drives past
Phoenix
Suns’ Isaiah
Thomas (3)
during the
first half of
an NBA bas-
ketball game
Wednesday
in Phoenix.
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FOXBOROUGH,
Mass.
(AP) — Patriots coach Bill Beli-
chick said today he doesn’t know
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during the game that got his team
to the Super Bowl.
But Belichick declined to
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he knew nothing about accusa-
tions that his team cheated with
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against the Colts in the AFC
championship game.
The NFL is investigating.
“I had no knowledge of this
situation until Monday morn-
ing,” said Belichick, who said he
was “shocked” to learn the news.
“I would say I’ve learned a
lot more about this process in
the last three days than I knew
or have talked about it in the last
40 years that I’ve coached in this
league,” Belichick said. “I had no
knowledge of the various steps
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to have very individualized pref-
erences in how footballs are read-
ied for games. Belichick said he
was unaware of the process for
game balls until the accusations
were raised.
Belichick says he sometimes
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other specialists talk about their
preferences.
“I can tell you and they will
tell you that there is never any
sympathy from me whatsoever
AP Photo/Elise Amendola
on that subject. Zero,” Belichick
New England Patriots’ head coach Bill Belichick reacts said.
during a news conference prior to a team practice in Fox-
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borough, Mass., today. Belichick addressed the issue of Brady is expected to address re-
the NFL investigation of deflated footballs.
porters later Thursday.
Belichick says the Patriots
involved in the game balls and balls, or absolve anyone besides JRLQJIRUZDUGZLOOLQÀDWHIRRW-
process that went through.”
himself of potential wrongdoing. balls to a safe level to prevent
Belichick did not specify who
Softer balls are generally con- them from dropping below
in the Patriots organization was sidered easier to throw and catch, allowable air pressure during
UHVSRQVLEOHIRUWKHXQGHULQÀDWHG DQGTXDUWHUEDFNVVSHFLDOLVWVDQG games.
“We will take steps in the fu-
ture to make sure that we don’t
put ourselves in this type of situa-
tion again,” he said.
The coach who has won three
Super Bowls said he generally
forces players to practice under
bad ball conditions.
“Anytime players complain
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I make it worse and that stops the
complaints,” he said.
The issue has drawn strong
reaction from around the game
and its fans as the Patriots pre-
pare to play the Seattle Seahawks
on Feb. 1 in Glendale, Arizona,
for the NFL title.
Belichick declined to answer
VHYHUDOTXHVWLRQVDIWHUKLVRSHQ-
ing remarks at his press confer-
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tions by saying: “I’ve told you
everything I know,” and “I don’t
have an explanation.”
Scherzer’s $210M deal done, Nationals think about ‘winning’
WASHINGTON (AP) —
Forgive Washington Nationals
owner Mark Lerner if he got
swept up in the scene.
Speaking after a news con-
ference Wednesday to announce
the addition — via a $210 mil-
lion, seven-year contract — of
2013 AL Cy Young Award win-
ner Max Scherzer, Lerner was
thinking big thoughts. After all,
the club’s starting rotation, at
least for the moment, also in-
cludes Stephen Strasburg, Jor-
dan Zimmermann, Doug Fister
and Gio Gonzalez.
“If they all stay healthy,” be-
gan Lerner, whose father, Ted,
is the team’s principal owner,
“I guess it’s a possibility we
may give up the fewest runs in
National League history during
a 162-game schedule, which is
amazing.”
Let the speculation begin, then.
Who will start on opening
day, an honor that’s gone to
Strasburg the past three years?
How good could this staff be?
As it is, in 2014, Washing-
ton’s starters led the majors with
a 3.04 ERA.
How far can those pitchers
take the Nationals, who won
the NL East in 2012 and again
last season before bowing out in
one more than the Philadelphia
Phillies won after assembling
Roy Halladay, Cliff Lee, Cole
Hamels and Roy Oswalt.
Still, if that’s the discussion
connected to the Nationals now,
it represents a sea change from
where this franchise stood a
half-dozen years ago.
It was noteworthy to hear the
word “winning” over and over
Wednesday at Nationals Park,
where the scoreboard displayed
a “Welcome to D.C.” greeting
for Scherzer and his wife, and
AP Photo/Evan Vucci
the diamond was covered by the
Washington Nationals’ manager Matt Williams, left, and gener- afternoon’s dusting of snow.
al manager Mike Rizzo, right, look on as pitcher Max Scherzer
This is a club that lost 100
puts on a jersey during an introductory news conference at Na- games in both 2008 and 2009
tionals Park, Wednesday in Washington, D.C. Scherzer signed DQG IRXQG LW GLI¿FXOW WR DWWUDFW
a $210 million, seven-year contract to join the Nationals.
top talent in free agency, but the
perception has changed.
Washington’s opening playoff with anybody’s in our division,
“There’s no doubt about it,”
series each time?
our league and maybe in base- Rizzo said. “We’ve got a lot of
And, perhaps most intrigu- ball,” Rizzo said, “and compete good baseball people around
ingly, will general manager against them.”
here. We’ve got a lot of good
Mike Rizzo keep that group in-
Of course, things don’t al- professionals. The selling por-
tact? Or will he wind up trading ZD\V VKDSH XS RQ WKH ¿HOG WKH WLRQ RI LW IURP ¿YH \HDUV DJR
someone, perhaps Zimmermann way they do during the offsea- to today is night and day. We
or Fister, who can both become son.
certainly have no problem with
free agents after next season?
7KH WHUUL¿F $WODQWD %UDYHV players wanting to be Washing-
8QWLOWKRVHODVWWZRTXHVWLRQV group that included three Hall ton Nationals.”
are answered, Rizzo certainly of Famers in Greg Maddux,
Asked what reasons led
shares Lerner’s enthusiasm for Tom Glavine and John Smoltz him to sign with Washington,
the current collection of arms.
wound up with only one World Scherzer replied, “One: win-
“We’ll stack our rotation up Series championship. That’s ning. I think this team is capable
of winning and winning a lot.
When you look at the near term
and long term, this is an organi-
zation you want to be a part of.”
The size of the contract prob-
ably didn’t hurt, either.
The 30-year-old Scherzer,
who became a free agent after
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with the Detroit Tigers, received
the most guaranteed dollars for
a right-handed pitcher in big
league history.
“I don’t play this game for
money,” said Scherzer, who was
18-5 with a 3.15 ERA in 2014, a
year after going 21-3 with a 2.90
ERA, “but yet at the same time,
when you have an offer like that,
it just makes you go, ‘Wow.”’
The deal includes a record
$50 million signing bonus, of
which $5 million is due this year
and $15 million each in 2019,
2020 and 2021.
The total payments of the
contract are spread over 14
years, reducing the present-day
value and making it palatable
for the Nationals.
“If that didn’t happen, there
wouldn’t have been a deal,”
Mark Lerner said. “We had to
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It was really my father and Mike
coming up with a creative deal.”