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Weekend Sports In Brief

by Ace Damon
Weekend Sports In Brief

NBA

CHICAGO (AP) – The players were collecting themselves, the bodies were falling to the ground, the calls and the non-calls were being shouted on both sides. The fourth quarter of the NBA All-Star Game was as intense as the final moments of a playoff game, the league's biggest stars holding absolutely nothing.

And in the end, Anthony Davis was a hometown hero, making a free throw.

Kobe Bryant – always the contestant – would just love the way the night went.

Davis made a free throw at the end of the game to give Team LeBron a 157-155 victory over Team Giannis in the revamped NBA All-Star Game, the revised format to include charitable elements and ensure someone would hit a shot until the end the game.

That someone was Davis, the Chicago native who missed the first free throw and made the second to close the mid-season NBA showcase, which was the closest All-Star game since the Eastern Conference, at the top of the Western Conference 141 -139 in 2010.

Kawhi Leonard, the game's MVP, scored 30 points for Team LeBron, while LeBron James – captain of his team – and Chris Paul scored 23 and Davis ended up with 20. Giannis Antetokounmpo, who led his team, led his team with 25 points , Kemba Walker was 23 for Team Giannis, Joel Embiid scored 22 and Rudy Gobert added 21.

CHICAGO (AP) – It has become one of the NBA's most revered traditions: on the morning of the NBA All-Star Game, the league pays tribute to retired players with what is called the Legends Brunch. It gathers around 3,000 guests and a recent retiree linked to the host city of the game is honored every year.

When the game was in Los Angeles two years ago, the NBA wanted to honor Kobe Bryant.

He refused. He was unable to attend. Your reason: your daughter Gianna Bryant had a game that morning.

This All-Star weekend was at Michael Jordan's former home in Chicago, highlighted by a game in which LeBron James and Giannis Antetokounmpo served as captains – but was, predictably and understandably, overshadowed by Bryant's mourning.

Jennifer Hudson, wearing the Lakers' deep purple, paid homage to Bryant before the game and sang "For All We Know". The players on James' team wore Gianna's number 2 on their shirts and the players on the Antetokounmpo team wore Kobe's number 24. And all the players wore a patch with nine stars, one for each accident victim.

Everyone in the All-Star Game on Sunday received a 24-page tribute published by Sports Illustrated dedicated to Bryant's career. On the last page of the text, just before the back cover, there was a quote from Jordan: "I loved Kobe – he was like a little brother to me," he began. Beside that quote was a photo, Bryant watching over Jordan in 1997, showing his tongue in the same way that the Bull guard used to do.

AUTOMATIC RACING

DAYTONA BEACH, Florida (AP) – The Daytona 500 was delayed by rain for the first time since 2012, cushioning the opening of the NASCAR season that began with a visit from President Donald Trump.

The race was delayed after two long delays, totaling more than three hours. The race will start now at 4pm. Monday.

It is the second time in 62 years that "The Great American Race" will end on Monday.

The first delay of the day occurred moments after the presidential parade ended a ceremonial lap around the 2 1/2 mile runway. Trump's armored limo, dubbed "The Beast", left Daytona International Speedway, and the sky opened up for a brief shower that forced drivers to get back on the road.

The start had already been postponed by 13 minutes to accommodate Trump's trip. Ricky Stenhouse Jr. ended up leading the field with the green flag and was ahead for the first 20 laps before heavy rain filled a running surface that takes hours to dry.

NASCAR called drivers back to their cars around 6:40 pm. EST, hoping to get more turns before more hits fall again. Some drivers showed, but the heavier rain of the day forced a postponement.

BASEBALL

NORTH PORT, Florida (AP) – With baseball on fire over the Houston Astros cheating scandal, Commissioner Rob Manfred met with almost half of the top league managers on Sunday and told them to break any notion of a draw.

Cody Bellinger, Kris Bryant, Trevor Bauer and Carlos Correa were among the All-Stars recently negotiating threats, accusations and barbs when spring training opened. The revelation of Houston's signal theft scam, the punishment imposed by Major League Baseball, and the poorly received apologies from the Astros have further heightened rage across the sport, with players, club management and fans participating.

Manfred had planned to attend a press conference in the new Atlanta Braves field, along with managers and team representatives who are training in Florida to talk about the upcoming season. Instead of looking forward to the next season, as in this annual press session, there was no question what topic number one was.

Manfred said he would speak personally with managers of teams training in Arizona on Tuesday.

In additional consequences of the Astros scheme, Manfred said the investigation into the Boston Red Sox could be completed in two weeks. He also said he plans to meet with the players' union to discuss new rules that limit access to in-game videos.

Manfred said MLB officials discussed the possibility of leaving the 2017 Astros championship in the World Series.

TORONTO (AP) – Tony Fernández, a stylish shorttop who has made five All-Star teams during his 17 seasons in the major leagues and helped the Toronto Blue Jays win the 1993 World Series, died on Sunday after complications from kidney disease. He was 57 years old.

Fernández was pulled from an afternoon life support system with his family present at a hospital in Weston, Florida, said Imrad Hallim, director and co-founder of the Tony Fernández Foundation. Fernández was in an induced coma and was waiting for years for a new kidney.

Fernández won four Golden Gloves in a row with Blue Jays in the 1980s and holds club records for career hits and games played.

GOLF

LOS ANGELES (AP) – Adam Scott has another victory at Riviera, and this time counts.

Scott survived a calamitous Sunday with enough clutch strokes – for birds, even and even bogey – and closed with 1 under 70 for a two-shot victory in the Genesis Invitational.

The victory comes 15 years after Scott won a playoff in Riviera that did not count as an official because the rain shortened the tournament to 36 holes. He won all that victory, the 14th on the PGA Tour and the 29th in the world.

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