Friday’s Sports Minute

Friday’s Sports Minute

Photo: Associated Press/NOT SO HAPPY HOMECOMING: LeBron James was welcomed back to Cleveland on Thursday night but couldn't come away with a win against the New York Knicks.

In addition to the Saints win and the Clippers comeback, here is a look at the sports news making headlines today, Friday, Oct. 31.

Knicks spoil LeBron’s homecoming

The New York Knicks ruined LeBron James’ much ballyhooed return to Cleveland by beating the Cavaliers 95-90 as James was limited to 17 points on 5-of-15 shooting from the field. Carmelo Anthony led the Knicks with 25 points and six assists.

James returned to the Cavs and his native Ohio this summer after winning two NBA titles in Miami. He also committed eight turnovers and never looked comfortable on a night when the entire city — and a star-studded crowd — celebrated his comeback.

Kyrie Irving scored 22 and Kevin Love added 19 points and 14 rebounds for the Cavs, who have some work to do before they can start thinking about any titles.

In other NBA action:

  • Thaddeus Young scored 19 points and hit a big 3-pointer with 90 seconds to play to lift the Minnesota Timberwolves to a 97-91 victory over the Detroit Pistons.
  • Washington beat Orlando 105-98. John Wall had 30 points and 12 assists. Marcin Gortat added 20 points and 12 rebounds.
  • Dallas bopped Utah 120-102. Dirk Nowitzki scored 21 points. Tyson Chandler, the center and emotional leader when Dallas beat Miami for the title three years ago, had 13 points and six rebounds in his first home game since returning to the Mavs.
  • AP source: Hardy’s trial delayed

    A person familiar with the situation says Panthers defensive end Greg Hardy’s domestic violence appeal trial set for Nov. 17 has been postponed until after the NFL season, meaning his career with Carolina could be over. The person said the new trial date has not been set.

    The person told The Associated Press on condition of anonymity Thursday because the decision has not been publicly announced.

    The Panthers placed Hardy on the exempt-commissioner’s permission list on Sept. 17 after being convicted in July of assault on a female and communicating threats.

    The NFL and the Panthers have said Hardy would not play until after his trial was resolved, although he is still collecting $13.1 million this season as Carolina’s franchise player.

    ‘Noles win after down 21-0

    Florida State, the nation’s second-ranked team, rallied from an early 21-point deficit to beat upset-minded Louisville 42-31 to win its 24th straight game. Florida State remained in the national championship conversation by improving to 8-0.

    Jameis Winston threw three touchdowns to offset a three-interception start. Dalvin Cook had two long scoring runs.

    All of Winston’s TD passes were big. He hit Travis Rudolph for 68 yards, Ermon Lane for 47, and Freddie Stevenson for the 35-yard clincher with 26 seconds.

    Louisville fell to 6-3.

    Pens blank the champs…Devils end shootout slump

    On NHL ice, Chris Kunitz had two goals in a three-point game to lift the Pittsburgh Penguins to a 3-0 victory over the defending Stanley Cup champion Los Angeles Kings 3-0. Marc-Andre Fleury made 35 saves in his 30th NHL shutout.

    Kris Letang scored his first goal of the season. Evgeni Malkin became the fifth player in Penguins history to register 400 assists.

    In other NHL action:

  • Jacob Josefson scored the lone goal in the shootout, and Cory Schneider made it stand up as the New Jersey Devils beat Winnipeg 2-1. The Devils earned the shootout victory after losing all 13 last season and one other this season.
  • Steven Stamkos had two goals and an assist, and the Tampa Bay Lightning beat the Philadelphia Flyers 4-3.
  • The St. Louis Blues blanked Anaheim 2-0. Alexander Steen and Ryan Reaves scored. Jake Allen stopped 24 shots in his second NHL shutout.
  • 121 players listed as free agents

    Baseball’s business season began Thursday when 121 players become free agents, a group that includes Pablo Sandoval, Michael Morse, Jake Peavy, Sergio Romo and Ryan Vogelsong of the World Series champion San Francisco Giants.

    James Shields, Nori Aoki and Jason Frasor of the AL champion Kansas City Royals also were among the players who became free.

    Approximately 28 more players can become eligible, depending on contract options.

    Top free agent pitchers also include Max Scherzer and Jon Lester. Among the top hitters are shortstop Hanley Ramirez, outfielder Nelson Cruz and designated hitter Victor Martinez.

    Consideration for Golden Era stars…MadBum’s caps go in

    Gil Hodges, Luis Tiant and Maury Wills are among 10 candidates on the Hall of Fame ballot for its Golden Era committee. Dick Allen, Ken Boyer, Jim Kaat, Minnie Minoso, Tony Oliva and Billy Pierce also are on the ballot. The only non-player is Bob Howsam, the late Cincinnati Reds general manager.

    A 16-member committee will convene Dec. 7-8 at the winter meetings in San Diego to consider the candidates, whose most significant impact was from 1947-72.

    In another Hall of Fame note, Madison Bumgarner’s World Series performance earned him a spot in the Hall of Fame — well, at least for his caps. The San Francisco Giants ace donated caps he wore during his Game 1 and 5 wins against Kansas City plus his hat from his Game 7 save Wednesday night.

    Game 7 boost

    An estimated 23.5 million people watched the San Francisco Giants’ 3-2 win over the Kansas City Royals in Game 7, enabling the matchup to escape the distinction of least-watched World Series. According to Neilsen’s overnight ratings, the Game 7 viewership was 10 million more people than tuned in to any of the previous six games between the Giants and Royals.

    Pre-season poll released

    The pre-season Associated Press women’s Top-25 basketball poll is out and the top team is Connecticut. The Huskies received all 35 first place votes after a season of going 40-0. The second-ranked school is South Carolina with Notre Dame third, Tennessee fourth and Texas A&M fifth.

    The second five in the pre-season poll consists of Stanford, Duke, Baylor, Texas and Maryland.

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