Thursday's Sports in Brief

Thursday's Sports in Brief
November 30, 2012, 7:41 am
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MIAMI (AP) The NBA plans to make San Antonio pay for resting four starters.

The Miami Heat almost didn't.

Ray Allen's 3-pointer with 22.6 seconds left gave Miami the lead, LeBron James finished with 23 points and the Heat rallied late to beat the Spurs 105-100 on Thursday night - digging deep despite San Antonio's decision to have four top players resting at home in a move that bothered NBA Commissioner David Stern.

The Spurs played without Tim Duncan, Tony Parker, Manu Ginobili and Danny Green, all sent back to San Antonio by coach Gregg Popovich, who said the move was in his team's best interest. Stern disagreed, calling the decision ``unacceptable,'' apologizing to fans and saying that sanctions against the Spurs will be forthcoming.

WALTHAM, Mass. (AP) - Boston Celtics point guard Rajon Rondo was suspended for the third time this calendar year on when the NBA told him to sit out two games without pay for starting a skirmish that sent players sprawling into the courtside seats.

Rondo will miss Friday night's game against the Portland Trail Blazers and Sunday's against the Bucks in Milwaukee. He will also give up $200,000 in pay.

DALLAS (AP) - Veteran point guard Derek Fisher signed a contract Thursday with the struggling Dallas Mavericks, who are still playing without injured star Dirk Nowitzki and lost Jason Kidd in free agency during the offseason.

The 38-year-old Fisher, who has played 16 NBA seasons with four teams, could make his Dallas debut in Saturday night's home game against Detroit.

PRO FOOTBALL

WASHINGTON (AP) - Lawyers for players appealing NFL suspensions in the New Orleans Saints bounties case cross-examined one key witness Thursday. Now they're supposed to get a chance to confront another central figure: former Saints defensive coordinator Gregg Williams.

Former NFL Commissioner Paul Tagliabue is overseeing the latest round of player appeals; former Saints assistant coach Mike Cerullo answered questions Thursday. Lawyers for the league and the NFL Players Association spent more than nine hours in a Washington office building.

Tagliabue has insisted on keeping the contents of the private hearings under wraps.

Saints linebacker Jonathan Vilma and defensive end Will Smith have said they plan to be present Friday when Williams is slated to be there.

CHICAGO (AP) - The idea that NFL players might use Viagra to gain an edge on the field left Chicago Bears linebacker Lance Briggs practically in tears - from laughing.

He wasn't the only one.

Players cracked jokes about it a day after Bears star receiver Brandon Marshall said he had heard that some players were using Viagra and hoping it would give them an advantage during games. Punch lines aside, experts say it's unlikely the erectile-dysfunction drug would help.

PITTSBURGH (AP) - Ben Roethlisberger doesn't sound like a guy who plans on playing against the Baltimore Ravens on Sunday.

The injured Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback said he's still in significant pain from the sprained right shoulder and dislocated ribs that have forced him to sit out Pittsburgh's last two games.

SANTA CLARA, Calif. (AP) - Alex Smith is trying to understand how he lost his job as starting quarterback of the San Francisco 49ers a month after being named NFC Offensive Player of the Week.

It's not easy for the NFL's fifth-ranked quarterback to deal with, even though Smith already has experienced plenty of ups and downs in his tumultuous career since the 49ers made him the No. 1 overall selection of the 2005 draft.

Smith spoke with the media for the first time since coach Jim Harbaugh made Colin Kaepernick the team's starting quarterback for Sunday's game against the St. Louis Rams, a rematch of the last game in which Smith appeared.

PHILADELPHIA (AP) - Eagles quarterback Michael Vick did not pass a league-mandated concussion test this week and will not return to practice until he does.

Vick, injured in a 38-23 loss to Dallas on Nov. 11, took the exam on Wednesday, the Eagles said. Backup Nick Foles, a rookie who has started the last two games for Philadelphia, will likely get the call again on Sunday, when the Eagles (3-8) face the Cowboys (5-6), this time in Dallas.

BASEBALL

NEW YORK (AP) - WFAN radio reported that David Wright and the New York Mets have agreed to a $138 million, eight-year contract that would be the richest in franchise history.

The deal would keep the All-Star third baseman under contract with the Mets through the 2020 season, when he will be 37.

NEW YORK (AP) - Mariano Rivera and the New York Yankees agreed to a $10 million, one-year contract, a person familiar with the negotiations told The Associated Press.

The person spoke on condition of anonymity because the deal had not yet been announced. The person said the deal includes additional bonus opportunities, as did the team's agreement with Andy Pettitte earlier in the week.

WASHINGTON (AP) - The Washington Nationals acquired Denard Span from the Minnesota Twins for minor league pitcher Alex Meyer on Thursday, giving the reigning NL East champions a natural center fielder and leadoff hitter - and setting off a chain reaction in the lineup both offensively and defensively.

A career .284 hitter with 90 steals and a .357 on-base percentage during five seasons with the Twins, Span comes to the Nationals with a set of talents the team has been seeking since it moved to Washington in 2005.

Span's arrival allows the Nationals to move 20-year-old Bryce Harper to a corner outfield spot - probably left field, with Jayson Werth staying in right. Michael Morse could then move to first base - the position played by free agent slugger Adam LaRoche.

PITTSBURGH (AP) - The New York Yankees were in no hurry to re-sign catcher Russell Martin. The Pittsburgh Pirates swept in when they had the chance.

A person with knowledge of the deal says the Pirates have agreed to a $17 million, two-year contract with the three-time All-Star, hoping he can give them some pop at the plate and respectable defense behind it.

SEOUL, South Korea (AP) - Former major leaguer Chan Ho Park retired after a career spanning nearly two decades in the United States, Japan and South Korea.

Park was the first South Korean-born player in the Major League Baseball.

The 39-year-old right-hander holds the MLB record for most wins by an Asian pitcher, going 124-98 with a 4.36 ERA.

GOLF

THOUSAND OAKS, Calif. (AP) - One day after golf's governing bodies proposed a new rule that will ban the anchored stroke used for long putters, Keegan Bradley talked about someone on Twitter telling the PGA champion to send in his resume to Burger King in 2016, when the rule goes into effect. Bradley got so fed up with the teasing over his belly putter this week that he grabbed Tiger Woods' putter and made three out of four from 10 feet.

The rule doesn't affect Nick Watney, though he couldn't say enough about his putting. He made five birdies on his last 10 holes - including his first birdie ever on the 14th hole at Sherwood - for a 5-under 67 that gave him a two-shot lead.

Bradley and a pair of past champions at this tournament - Jim Furyk and Graeme McDowell - were two shots out of the lead at 69. Woods was in the group at 70 that included Bo Van Pelt, whom Woods beat this year at Congressional, and U.S. Open champion Webb Simpson.

SUN CITY, South Africa (AP) - Bill Haas bogeyed two of the last three holes in the Nedbank Golf Challenge to slip back into a share of the first-round lead with Nicolas Colsaerts.

Two shots ahead after the 15th hole, the American dropped strokes on 16 and 18 to match Colsaerts at 2-under 70 in the 12-player event at Gary Player Country Club.

LA QUINTA, Calif. (AP) - Meen Whee Kim shot a 9-under 63 on PGA West's Stadium Course to take a one-stroke lead after the second round of the PGA Tour qualifying tournament.

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (AP) - Thailand's Moriya Jutanugarn shot a 6-under 66 to take a three-stroke lead after the second round of the LPGA Tour qualifying tournament.

COLLEGE BASKETBALL

COLUMBIA, Mo. (AP) - Suspended Missouri guard Michael Dixon left the team after two sexual assault claims became public this week.

Dixon was not charged in either case, but has been benched all season for No. 13 Missouri (5-1). The senior averaged 13.5 points as Missouri's sixth man last season and was a projected starter.

COLLEGE FOOTBALL

LOS ANGELES (AP) - Southern California assistant head coach Monte Kiffin will resign from his son's coaching staff after a miserable season for the Trojans' defense.

Monte Kiffin announced in a news release that he will leave USC after the Trojans' bowl game next month to pursue a return to the NFL.

NEWPORT BEACH, Calif. (AP) - Georgia's Jarvis Jones, Manti Te'o of Notre Dame, Stanford's Chase Thomas and Arthur Brown of Kansas State are the finalists for the Lott IMPACT Trophy, given to the collegiate defensive player having the biggest impact on his team.

SOCCER

CARSON, Calif. (AP) - Chris Wondolowski won Major League Soccer's MVP award by an appropriately huge margin for the San Jose Earthquakes forward who dominated the league's goal-scoring race.

Wondolowski capped his remarkable season by lifting the MVP trophy at Home Depot Center during the week of festivities leading up to the MLS Cup on Saturday.

The Bay Area native scored 27 goals, tying the MLS season record set by Tampa Bay's Roy Lassiter in 1996, and won the Golden Boot as the league's top scorer while leading San Jose to the Supporters' Shield with the best regular-season record.

CHICAGO (AP) - Former U.S. women's national team general manager Cheryl Bailey will serve as the executive director of the new U.S. Soccer-led women's league that will begin play next year.

U.S. Soccer President Sunil Gulati announced the appointment.

PRO HOCKEY

NEW YORK (AP) - The NHL, the players' association and now even federal mediators agree on one thing: The bickering sides are nowhere near a deal that would put hockey back on the ice.

The league and the union wrapped up two days of talks Thursday in New Jersey, with help from mediators, but moved no closer to a solution to save the season that has already been delayed and shortened.

Two members from the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service joined the discussions on Wednesday and Thursday but couldn't bring the sides any closer.