MLBPA grants 24-hour extension for MLB, NPB to work out posting agreement

Shohei Ohtani’s potential future in North America will have to wait another day as the Major League Baseball Players Association announced a 24-hour extension to negotiate a new posting agreement between MLB and Nippon Professional Baseball.

The deadline is now 8 p.m. ET on Tuesday.

Both sides were said to be optimistic heading into the previous deadline despite failing to come to terms, a source told Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports. A gap remains as MLBPA proposed to shorten the posting window from Nov. 1 – Feb. 1 to Nov. 1 – Nov. 15, leading NPB to counter several times.

A separate hurdle involves NPB refusing to make the posting of a player irrevocable, meaning once an athlete transitions to the majors, he would then be unable to return to Japan once a contract is agreed upon, multiple sources told Jim Allen of Kyodo News.

If and when a new deal is reached, the 23-year-old Ohtani would be officially posted and able to negotiate a deal with major league teams.

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MLB | theScore

Embiid admits he flopped after Mitchell shove

Joel Embiid continues to be great on and off the court.

The Philadelphia 76ers appeared to flop during this incredible sequence in Monday’s game against the Utah Jazz:

Instead of denying it like many would, Embiid admitted to embellishing contact, which successfully resulted in a tech for his opponent.

“I blocked his shot and then I said something to him,” the 23-year-old center told reporters postgame, as quoted by NBC Sports’ Jessica Camerato.

"Then he just got up and kind of fake shoved me and I flopped. Then he got a technical for it. So that was basically how it happened. But it's all fun after the game. We shook hands."

Of course it was fun for The Process, who notched 15 points, 11 rebounds, three assists, and two blocks in the 107-86 victory for the Sixers, who are tied for sixth in the East at 9-7.

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NBA | theScore

Report: Lakers eyeing free agent Kuzminskas

The Los Angeles Lakers are interested in Mindaugas Kuzminskas and met recently with the free-agent forward, sources told ESPN’s Ohm Youngmisuk.

Los Angeles is in the market for another wing. Kuzminskas was waived by the New York Knicks on Nov. 12 after the team couldn't find a trade partner for the 6-foot-9 Lithuanian. He was a serviceable role player for New York last season, averaging 6.3 points in his rookie year.

The 28-year-old played a decade in Europe before coming to the NBA in 2016.

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NBA | theScore

Florida fan promised to eat ‘steamy pile of dog crap’ if Miami won 10 games

A Florida fan by the name of Joe deeply regrets promising back in August that he would eat a “steamy pile of dog crap” and broadcast it live if Miami won 10 games this year.

The Hurricanes clinched their 10th win of the campaign Saturday, and have yet to lose this season, while Joe's beloved Gators have sputtered to a 4-6 mark.

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NCAAF | theScore

Robert Woods’ breakout season interrupted by shoulder injury

Los Angeles Rams wide receiver Robert Woods is expected to miss multiple weeks with a shoulder injury, head coach Sean McVay said Monday, per Alden Gonzalez of ESPN.

Woods injured the shoulder Sunday against the Minnesota Vikings and was later spotted wearing a sling.

Woods has been in the midst of a breakout campaign and paces the NFC West-leading Rams with 703 receiving yards to go with four touchdowns. The 25-year-old came to Los Angeles in the offseason as a free agent from the Buffalo Bills.

The Rams are preparing to take a 7-3 record into a Sunday tilt with the New Orleans Saints.

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NFL | theScore

Report: MLB looking at 20-second pitch clock for 2018

The topic of pace of play, and how to improve it, has been bouncing around Major League Baseball for some time. Entering 2017, a minor rule change was implemented allowing teams to intentionally walk batters without throwing the formerly-required pitches, among a few other alterations.

Now, MLB may be inching toward some more drastic measures. The league wants to introduce a 20-second pitch clock when no runners are on base, sources tell ESPN's Buster Olney.

It’s the same time limit that has been used in the minor leagues for the last three seasons.

Related: Rob Manfred expects pace of play changes in 2018

If the rule is adopted, it will necessitate a change for the majority of MLB hurlers. Among all pitchers who threw at least 50 innings in 2017, only five averaged under 20 seconds between pitches, and no qualified starter came in below that threshold. The closest was St. Louis Cardinals right-hander Carlos Martinez at 20.1 seconds.

Exactly how this would be enforced remains to be seen, though MLB is hoping it can come to an agreement with the players' union over the winter. With games averaging more than three hours in the regular season and 3.5 hours in the postseason, a change seems inevitable.

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MLB | theScore

3 takeaways from the Celtics’ nail-biting 16th straight win

Surprise, surprise. Kyrie Irving and the undermanned Boston Celtics added a 16th straight victim to their list as they defeated the Dallas Mavericks 110-102 in an overtime thriller.

The Mavericks kept it close and looked as if they were going to pull away in the fourth, going up by 13 with a little more than seven minutes to go. What they forgot was that no lead is safe against the scrappy Celtics.

Here are three takeaways from the game:

Kyrie Irving: Part-time magician

This is what the Celtics were expecting from Irving when they traded for him. This is why they were willing to give up the heart of the roster last season and a likely lottery pick. It doesn’t matter who Boston is going up against, Kyrie is here to finish.

It’s not always fair to look at Irving’s box score as proof of his value. What’s important is that the Celtics have someone who they can rely on to create on his own.

Irving ended the game with 47 points on 22 shots. That’s textbook efficiency. He got to the free-throw line 11 times, hitting 10 and nailed five threes on seven attempts.

He came up with a huge steal, quickly got down the floor, and found Jayson Tatum for the alley-oop finish to tie the game at 96. He didn’t just close the game by scoring tonight; he did everything else.

Marcus Smart: Full-time nightmare

No player can be defined as a bad dream quite like Marcus Smart. He started the game 0-8 from three, and considering he’s shooting 27.3 percent, that shouldn’t be a surprise. However, in typical Smart fashion, he hit a three with 1:24 left in regulation to bring the Celtics to within two points.

He has clear offensive deficiencies that cause Celtics fans headaches, but he’s also a demon on defense to balance it out. Smart was a bulldog the entire fourth quarter. The Mavericks tried to switch him onto Dirk a few times down the stretch; the problem is that it doesn’t matter how tall you are, Smart will stop you. Dallas learned that the hard way.

Young guns did it again

It’s still astonishing to see Tatum and Jaylen Brown out there in crunch time. It isn’t the fact that they’re playing, but that they’re contributing to winning basketball.

Tatum is 18 games into his NBA career and he’s already running the floor and finishing with contact like a veteran. He finished the game with 15 points and nine rebounds. He also did an outstanding job on Harrison Barnes on the Mavs’ final shot in regulation.

As for Brown, what can be said about a sophomore being second in scoring on the NBA’s best team? He finished the game with 22 points and nine rebounds, hitting the go-ahead jumper in overtime. Clutch.

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NBA | theScore

Nurkic loving life with Blazers: ‘I don’t want this to end’

Portland Trail Blazers center Jusuf Nurkic has already experienced a decade's worth of ups and downs in under four seasons, but he's happy where he's at now.

Nurkic was traded to Portland last year after spending the first two-and-a-half seasons of his career with the Denver Nuggets. The Bosnian entered the league with a high ceiling, but after some injuries and miscommunication with Nuggets head coach Mike Malone, Nurkic knew it was time for change.

“I needed a change of scenery. Both sides needed it,” Nurkic told Ben Golliver of Sport Illustrated. “I’m thankful Denver let me go where I wanted to go. If I was doing all the bad things that people said, the Nuggets wouldn’t have traded me where I wanted to go, and they probably would have gotten a way better deal than they got.”

The change has been beneficial for both sides, as the Nuggets can focus on utilizing Nikola Jokic, while Portland may have potentially found a franchise cornerstone.

“Portland gave me the situation I always wanted: the fans, the city, the teammates, and two guards who can really hoop.” said Nurkic. “It sounds perfect to me. I don’t want this to end. I want to be here.”

Nurkic is averaging 14.6 points and 7.2 rebounds through his first 16 games of the season.

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NBA | theScore

NCAA rushing leader Penny left off Doak Walker Award list

SAN DIEGO – San Diego State offensive coordinator Jeff Horton thinks it's ''a joke'' and ''a disgrace'' that Rashaad Penny isn't a finalist for the Doak Walker Award. Coach Rocky Long thinks the snub doesn't bode well for the nation's leading rusher making it to New York for the Heisman Trophy ceremony.

And Penny? Well, the senior is being pragmatic.

Aztecs fans feel Penny should make the Heisman finalist list after his monster game Saturday night, when he amassed 429 all-purpose yards to break Marshall Faulk’s school record, and scored four touchdowns in a 42-23 victory against Nevada. Penny rushed for 222 yards and two touchdowns, and had 201 yards and two touchdowns on three returns. He also caught one pass for 6 yards.

Penny leads the nation with 1,824 yards, with 17 rushing touchdowns.

He’s not worried about whether he will be a Heisman finalist.

”I mean, I don’t know. It’s a dream come true. I don’t know what they’re going to do. It’s up to them,” Penny said after practice Monday. ”I think my teammates are more excited about me just trying to get invited or get a table at the Heisman. I think that would be fun but I mean we’ll see what happens.”

Penny doesn’t think it will be a snub if he doesn’t make it to the Big Apple.

”Oh no. I take college football as politics anyway,” he said. ”I’m a firm believer in that. I’m in the Group of Five. So, I mean, there’s really nothing I can worry about. It’s not in my hands. I just play the game just to win and to help us win.”

Penny said he thinks his teammates and fans would be more disappointed about the Doak Walker snub than he is.

”It’s really not in my hands. Like I said, all we do is play the game we love and have fun,” he said. ”I enjoy the game. It’s an individual award but I’d take it as a team award. That’s how it is, but you just move on.”

Penn State’s Saquon Barkley, Stanford’s Bryce Love and Wisconsin freshman Jonathan Taylor are the finalists for the Doak Walker Award that goes to the nation’s top running back.

Penny did say he was ”kind of mad” when he saw Barkley, who has 1,057 yards and 14 TDs, was a finalist.

Love is second nationally with 1,723 yards and Taylor third with 1,657.

Penny’s Aztecs beat Love’s then-No. 19 Cardinal 20-17 in September. Love gained 184 yards on just 13 carries, including touchdown runs of 53 and 51 yards. Penny had 175 yards on 32 carries.

Asked if he considers himself among the top three backs in the country, Penny said: ”I really think my teammates do. Confidence-wise, yeah, I think so. But I really can’t control it.”

That’s how Long feels.

SDSU chose not to have a Heisman campaign for Penny.

”I don’t think that makes one bit of difference,” Long said. ”I think the Heisman campaign is handled by ESPN.”

Long hopes Penny gets invited to the Heisman ceremony, ”but legitimately, no I don’t think he will be. I think there’s an East Coast prejudice and I think there’s a Power Five prejudice. It doesn’t matter how good the guy is.”

Long said he thinks the awards are ”all hype anyway, so what’s the difference?”

Penny’s exposure nationally is hurt because SDSU, a member of the Mountain West Conference, plays most of its games at 7:30 p.m. Pacific time. SDSU had been ranked No. 19 but then lost consecutive games to Boise State and Fresno State, losing a shot at playing for a third straight league title.

Long said he thinks the awards are ”all hype anyway, so what’s the difference?”

”We all know how good Rashaad is,” he said. ”If people block for him he’s as good as anybody in the country.”

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NCAAF | theScore

Bears’ Miller returns from hospital 3 weeks after horrific leg injury

Chicago Bears tight end Zach Miller has been released from the hospital three weeks after sustaining a gruesome leg injury.

Miller suffered the damage during an Oct. 29 loss to the New Orleans Saints on a play that was originally ruled a touchdown. While trying to secure the ball in the end zone, Miller's leg bent horribly and he was carted off the field.

The 33-year-old underwent immediate surgery to save his leg and was then flown to Chicago, where he remained in the hospital until this week.

Miller was clearly ecstatic to get out on Monday.

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NFL | theScore