Aldridge leads Trail Blazers past Rockets, 111-104
PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — LaMarcus Aldridge had 31 points and a career-high 25 rebounds, prompting Portland fans to chant "MVP! MVP!" during the Trail Blazers' 111-104 victory over the Houston Rockets on Thursday night.
Robin Lopez added 16 points and 10 rebounds for the Blazers, who sit atop the Western Conference standings at 19-4.
Dwight Howard had 32 points and 17 rebounds for the Rockets, who beat the Blazers 116-101 on Nov. 5. That was one of just two losses at home this season for Portland.
The Trail Blazers led by 10 early in the fourth quarter, but Chandler Parsons hit a 3-pointer to narrow it to 93-88 with 7:07 left. Houston closed to 97-95 after James Harden made a layup and a free throw with 4:45 to go.
NATIONAL FINALS RODEO
Feild wins again in National Finals Rodeo
LAS VEGAS (AP) — Bareback rider Kaycee Feild won for the second consecutive round Thursday night in the National Finals Rodeo, scoring 83.5 points on Cool Water.
Feild, from Payson, Utah, remained atop the season standings with $186,881.
Seeking a third consecutive season title, Feild also leads the aggregate standings with 663 points for eight rides. He's trying to become the first rider to win three consecutive aggregate titles since Jack Ward Jr. in 1974-76. Feild has earned an event-best $66,506 in the first eight rounds.
Bobby Mote of Culver, Ore., fourth with a 78.5 on Full Baggage, is second in the standings at $161,794. Mote is 10th in the aggregate standings with 561.5 points for seven rides.
Rangers draft Seahawks QB Russell Wilson
LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. (AP) — Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson has been selected by the Texas Rangers from the Colorado Rockies in the Triple-A portion of baseball's winter meeting draft.
The Rangers made the Rule 5 pick Thursday. Wilson, who played minor league baseball for parts of two seasons before becoming an NFL star, will be placed on Texas' restricted list.
Wilson was drafted as a second baseman by the Rockies in the fourth round of the 2010 amateur draft out of North Carolina State, where he excelled at both baseball and football. In two seasons at the Class A level he hit .229 with five homers and 26 RBIs.
In 2011, he left the Rockies for football at the University of Wisconsin. He was required to return to the Rockies a portion of his $200,000 signing bonus.
Seattle's Thomas seeing new looks from opponents
RENTON, Wash. (AP) — Earl Thomas considered it a sign of respect and it had nothing to do with where passes were being thrown.
The Seattle Seahawks' free safety noticed a new way that San Francisco tried to take him out of the game last Sunday. While the 49ers were careful not to throw in Thomas' direction very often, it was San Francisco sending receivers downfield to try and block Thomas that caught him by surprise.
It was the first time Thomas could remember an opponent trying to take him out of the play in that way. But as teams are learning, limiting Thomas' impact is one of the best ways to try and have success against Seattle's defense that ranks first in the NFL in total defense heading into Sunday's game against the Giants.
Robinson Cano and Mariners finalize huge contract
SEATTLE (AP) — All-Star second baseman Robinson Cano and the Seattle Mariners have finalized their $240 million, 10-year contract that was agreed upon late last week.
The Mariners announced the contract Thursday following Cano's completion of a physical. The deal is tied for the fourth largest contract in major league history.
Cano had spent his entire career with the Yankees. The five-time All-Star played in 160 games last season and hit .314 with 27 homers and 107 RBIs. Cano posted a .899 on-base plus slugging percentage and finished fifth in American League MVP voting.
The Yankees offered Cano a $175 million, seven-year deal. New York went 85-77 last season and missed the playoffs for only the second time in 19 years; Seattle went 71-91 and hasn't been in the playoffs since 2001.
Timbers select Zakuani in MLS re-entry draft
PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — The Portland Timbers selected midfielder Steve Zukuani in the first stage of the MLS re-entry draft after trading up for the No. 2 pick.
Portland sent the No. 17 selection and defender Andrew Jean-Baptiste to Chivas USA on Thursday for the No. 2 pick and midfielder/defender Jorge Villafana.
Zakuani has played for the rival Seattle Sounders since he was the top pick in the 2009 MLS SuperDraft. He has appeared in 80 regular-season matches, with 17 goals and 14 assists.
Zakuani played for Timbers coach Caleb Porter at the University of Akron and led the nation in scoring with 20 goals and 47 points as a sophomore.
MLS All-Stars to face Bayern Munich in 2014
PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — The 2014 Major League Soccer All-Star game will be against legendary German club Bayern Munich, the reigning European and Bundesliga champions.
The All-Star game will be played in August at Jeld-Wen Field, home of the Portland Timbers. The MLS All-Star game has pitted league stars against top-flight foreign clubs for the past 10 years.
The match will conclude a weeklong tour of North America, Bayern's first trip to the region in a decade. Also the reigning German Cup champion, Munich is currently ranked atop the Bundesliga and hasn't dropped a league match.
Last season's MLS All-Star game was played in Kansas City against AS Roma, which won 3-1.
MLS-SOUNDERS FC-CREW TRADE
Seattle acquires Marshall from Columbus in trade
TUKWILA, Wash. (AP) — The Seattle Sounders' busy offseason continues with the team acquiring defender Chad Marshall from the Columbus Crew in exchange for a 2015 third-round pick and allocation money.
The trade was announced on Thursday morning.
Marshall has spent the past 10 seasons with Columbus and was a two-time MLS defender of the year in 2008 and 2009. He also earned MLS Best XI honors those seasons. He ranks 21s among active players with 253 MLS appearances and has 11 caps for the U.S. national team.
It's the third trade Seattle has made in three days, having acquired goalkeeper Stefan Frei from Toronto and sending midfielder Mauro Rosales to Chivas USA for forward Tristan Bowen earlier this week.
Oregon St WR Brandin Cooks wins Biletnikoff Award
LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. (AP) — Oregon State junior Brandin Cooks has won the Biletnikoff Award as the nation's most outstanding wide receiver.
Cooks was presented with the award Thursday during the 23rd College Football Awards Show at Disney.
He becomes the second winner from Oregon State, joining Mike Hass from 2005.
Cooks finished the season with 120 catches for 1,670 yards and 13 touchdowns. He also had 31 receptions for more than 20 yards, most in the country among wide receivers. That all helped lead Oregon State to a spot in the Hawaii Bowl against Boise State.
Cooks beat out fellow finalists Mike Evans from Texas A&M and Sammy Watkins of Clemson.