Cavaliers’ Kevin Love has foot surgery, out at least 6 weeks
By TOM WITHERS
AP Sports Writer
Saturday, November 3
CLEVELAND (AP) — The Cavaliers are missing another star.
Forward Kevin Love will be out at least six weeks — and maybe longer — after surgery on his left foot, another blow to a team in disarray in its first season following LeBron James’ departure.
Love, who injured his left big toe in Cleveland’s first exhibition game, had the operation Friday in New York at the Hospital for Special Surgery. The team said his timeline to return to basketball activity will be updated in about six weeks, which means he could be out even longer.
The 30-year-old Love played in Cleveland’s first four games before the pain became intolerable. He underwent tests this week and said doctors were still trying to determine the best course of action. Love said the injury became so severe he was having trouble walking and it was affecting his game as he made only 32 percent of his shots in his four games.
Earlier this week, Love said surgery had not been ruled out and the team’s medical staff, with input from outside physicians, decided that was the best option for the injury to heal completely.
Love’s injury and extended recovery are going to make things even tougher on a team that is 1-7 and regrouping after coach Tyronn Lue was fired Sunday. Cleveland is trying to develop young players while staying competitive, but with Love out it’s going to be even harder.
Love signed a $120 million, four-year extension with the club last summer shortly after James left as a free agent.
The five-time All-Star as missed 45 games because of injuries over the past two seasons. He averaged 19.0 points and 13.5 rebounds before being sidelined by the injury.
It’s been quite a week for the Cavs, beginning with Lue’s dismissal.
Assistant coach Larry Drew asked the team to restructure his contract if he’s going to be the team’s “interim” coach and fill in for Lue this season. Also, guard J.R. Smith said he wants to be traded because of his reduced role this season, and former assistant coach Jim Boylan filed a lawsuit against the team claiming age discrimination.
The Cavs did end their six-game losing streak on Tuesday with a win over Atlanta before losing to Denver. They play in Charlotte on Saturday.
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Ibaka’s career-high 34 sends Raptors past Lakers, 121-107
By GREG BEACHAM
AP Sports Writer
Monday, November 5
LOS ANGELES (AP) — Serge Ibaka outscored the Lakers by himself in the first quarter, and he didn’t miss a shot until the third. He beat LA inside and outside on the way to the biggest offensive game of his career.
Thanks to Ibaka’s brilliance for the Toronto Raptors, Kawhi Leonard wasn’t missed by anyone except the Lakers fans who might have been hoping to entice him home.
Ibaka made his first 14 shots on the way to a career-high 34 points, and the Raptors didn’t need an injured Leonard in a 121-107 victory over Los Angeles on Sunday night.
Ibaka had 10 rebounds and didn’t miss a shot until 5:16 remained in the third quarter, finishing 15 of 17. He was overpowering while the Raptors jumped to a stunning 31-point lead in the first quarter, and he returned in the final minutes to close out Toronto’s eighth consecutive win over the Lakers.
“I was just focused,” Ibaka said. “I knew Kawhi was out tonight, so I just wanted to go out there and do my best.”
With the Lakers’ small lineups struggling to contain Ibaka early on, he became the first player to start a game 14 of 14 from the field since Shaquille O’Neal did it in February 2006, according to the NBA.
“That’s pretty cool,” Toronto coach Nick Nurse said. “The best thing is he’s doing it with some real good composure. He’s getting in there and taking his time. He’s using his size, his power, and using pretty good footwork, so it’s something we can go to.”
Kyle Lowry added 21 points and 15 assists for the Eastern Conference-leading Raptors, who haven’t lost to the Lakers since 2014.
“We really wanted to put some pressure on them and guard the ball,” Nurse said. “We got off to an unbelievable start. We looked athletic and fast all over the place tonight.”
Toronto didn’t let its huge lead dwindle significantly until the final minutes, when the Lakers’ youngster got the margin down to 117-107 with LeBron James on the bench. Toronto was forced to re-insert its starters in the final minutes to preserve the win.
“They’ve been playing like they’re the best team in the Eastern Conference so far,” said James, who finished with 18 points and six assists. “They just came out and hit us right in the mouth, and it’s going to be very hard to make a game of that when you’re trying to expend so much energy to get back into it.”
Kyle Kuzma scored 24 points and Brandon Ingram added 16 for the Lakers, who are 4-6 after their first 10 games with James after this defeat on the tail end of a back-to-back set that began with a gritty win in Portland on Saturday night.
“In my experience, unfortunately, most of the time when a player like Kawhi sits out, that team ends up winning,” Lakers coach Luke Walton said. “There’s a sense of freedom and joy that comes when a top player like that is out. We tried to explain that that’s part of how this works, but it doesn’t seem like we took that to heart.”
Raptors: Leonard has sat out three of his first 10 games with Toronto, missing two games last month to manage his workload coming back from last season’s injury struggles. He injured his foot late in the Raps’ win at Phoenix on Friday night. Nurse doesn’t know whether Leonard will play Monday at Utah. … OG Anunoby took Leonard’s spot in the starting lineup and contributed seven points.
Lakers: Starting with their fourth-quarter slump in Portland, the Lakers were outscored 75-34 in a 21:16 stretch spanning the two games. … Fans at courtside included Denzel Washington, Kristen Bell, Dax Shepard, Ariel Winter, middleweight champion Canelo Alvarez, New York Giants receiver Odell Beckham Jr. and UFC featherweight title contender Brian Ortega, who will fight Max Holloway for the belt in Toronto on Dec. 8.
Leonard sat out with soreness in his left foot, depriving Lakers fans of their only look at the superstar before he could become an unrestricted free agent next summer. The Lakers would love to sign a second superstar like Leonard, who grew up in the Inland Empire area, one hour east of Los Angeles.
The Lakers’ first quarter was shockingly bad. Toronto took a 41-10 lead with 2:21 still remaining in the first quarter, and Ibaka outscored the Lakers 20-17 in the opening period. Ibaka went 11 for 11 in the first half, while Lowry had 12 assists as the Raptors hit six 3-pointers and forced nine turnovers.
Raptors: At Utah on Monday night.
Lakers: Host Minnesota on Wednesday night.
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Struggling LA Kings fire head coach Stevens, hire Desjardins
By GREG BEACHAM
AP Sports Writer
Monday, November 5
LOS ANGELES (AP) — The struggling Los Angeles Kings fired head coach John Stevens on Sunday just 13 games into his second season in charge.
Willie Desjardins will be the Kings’ interim head coach for the rest of the regular season, general manager Rob Blake said.
Los Angeles also fired assistant coach Don Nachbaur and hired former Kings forward Marco Sturm to replace him on Desjardins’ staff.
Los Angeles is last in the overall NHL standings after a 4-8-1 start and last in the league with 2.15 goals per game. The Kings have been outscored 45-28, but they had won two of their past three games following a six-game losing streak.
“I’m looking to get the compete and the passion back,” Blake said after announcing his second coaching change in 19 months. “We need our players emotionally involved. It’s difficult to win when you’re not. We expect Willie to bring that passion and that excitement to this team.”
The Kings beat Columbus 4-1 on Saturday in Stevens’ final game in charge. Desjardins, the former Vancouver head coach, will lead practice Monday and will debut behind the bench when the Kings host rival Anaheim on Tuesday night.
The Kings still have a wealth of top-end NHL talent including Hart Trophy finalist Anze Kopitar, Norris Trophy-winning defenseman Drew Doughty and high-scoring forward Jeff Carter alongside newcomer Ilya Kovalchuk. But with goalie Jonathan Quick missing all but four games because of injuries, Los Angeles has stumbled through the past 3½ weeks with its top-heavy roster of well-paid veterans, inconsistent depth players and a patchy defense.
“You look at training camp and you look at the regular season to where we are now, the expectations have not been met,” Blake said. “We have really good players. We have players that can make plays. We expect them to make plays, and we expect them to play with that level of compete, and it hasn’t been.”
Stevens took over in 2017 after seven years as an assistant in Los Angeles under Terry Murray and Darryl Sutter. The former Philadelphia Flyers head coach was an assistant on the Kings’ Stanley Cup-winning teams in 2012 and 2014.
Stevens’ promotion was an attempt to create a new mentality for the Kings while maintaining some continuity to Sutter, whose grinding style of hockey won the only two Stanley Cup titles in franchise history. Sutter’s coaching and former general manager Dean Lombardi’s clever moves won two championships, but also left the Kings with a relatively slow, veteran-laden roster that struggled to compete consistently in the speed-based NHL after 2014.
The Kings went 45-29-8 in Stevens’ debut last season, finishing fourth in the Pacific Division and getting swept by Vegas in the first round of the playoffs. Stevens went 51-39-9 overall in Los Angeles, including four games as the Kings’ interim head coach in the 2011-12 season between the tenures of Murray and Sutter.
Everything went wrong quickly for Stevens, although Blake said he saw concerns from training camp onward. After adding Kovalchuk as a free agent last summer, Los Angeles got off to its awful start this fall while playing largely without Quick and forward Dustin Brown, who were both out with injuries for long stretches.
Quick is currently out for several weeks after undergoing knee surgery, leaving inexperienced Jack Campbell as Los Angeles’ top goalie. The Los Angeles farm system’s inability to produce above-average players in recent years has dramatically thinned the big-league club’s depth and competitiveness, but the Kings’ top-end talent isn’t producing its share either, according to Blake.
“We have some real good players,” Blake said. “We need them playing at a higher level. It’s been an issue this season that we haven’t had everyone going the right direction. (That’s) partly the reason for this change.”
Blake said he has no long-standing connections with Desjardins, the Canucks’ head coach from 2014-17. After Vancouver missed the playoffs in his final two seasons, Desjardins coached the Canadian men’s national team to bronze medals at the Pyeongchang Olympics last February.
The Kings clearly also think highly of Sturm, whose 14-year NHL playing career included 17 games with the Kings. He has been the head coach of the German national team since 2015, leading his nation to a silver medal in Pyeongchang.
The 40-year-old Sturm will spend one more week coaching Germany in the Deutschland Cup before reporting to Los Angeles. Blake said the Kings chose Sturm because of his “new generational coaching style” and his skills in “player relations.”
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Rivers, Gordon leads Chargers past Seahawks 25-17
By TIM BOOTH
AP Sports Writer
Monday, November 5
SEATTLE (AP) — Jahleel Addae saw Russell Wilson’s pass coming in his direction. He didn’t see David Moore running open behind him in the back of the end zone, and as the pass floated past, Addae reached out his right arm as far as he could.
“I got my last fingernail on it,” Addae said. “I barely snipped it.”
Another last-second challenge for the Los Angeles Chargers defense. Another victory for the surging Chargers, holding off Wilson’s late rally for a 25-17 win over the Seattle Seahawks on Sunday.
The Chargers won their fifth straight, putting a capper on Philip Rivers’ 200th consecutive start with another clutch defensive stand. Rivers threw two touchdowns, Melvin Gordon ran for 113 yards, yet those two were standing on the sideline watching after a pass interference call against Michael Davis on the final play of regulation gave Seattle an untimed down and a chance to force overtime.
And just like they did in London when the Chargers denied Tennessee’s 2-point conversion attempt to preserve a 20-19 win, the defense came through again.
“It shouldn’t have come down to that but it did,” Rivers said. “We found a way to win. These kinds of wins are huge.”
Rivers threw touchdown passes of 12 yards to Tyrell Williams and 30 yards to Mike Williams, and let the Chargers defense stymie Wilson until the final minutes. Seattle had won four of five following a 0-2 start.
Desmond King provided the deciding points for Los Angeles (6-2) by stepping in front of Wilson’s pass for Moore and returning it 42 yards for a touchdown with 6:44 remaining to give the Chargers a 25-10 lead.
Wilson managed to make the final minutes nervous for Los Angeles.
“We had a chance to win a game that’s right there for us,” Seattle coach Pete Carroll said. “It was going to be dramatic, but we’re OK about that.”
Wilson hit Nick Vannett on a 6-yard TD with 1:50 remaining to cut the Chargers’ lead to one score. Seattle got the ball back with 1:24 left at its own 22 and after two completions and a roughing the passer penalty on Melvin Ingram, the Seahawks were at the Chargers 44 with 50 seconds left. Wilson scrambled for 16 yards to the Chargers 28 and, after a spike, Seattle had 30 seconds left.
Seattle (4-4) got a break when Davis was called for pass interference in the end zone on the final play of regulation against Tyler Lockett, putting the ball at the 1 for an untimed down. Seattle’s J.R. Sweezy was called for false start backing the play up to the 6, and Wilson’s final attempt for Moore in the back of the end zone was partially tipped by Addae and fell incomplete.
“It’s like winning a playoff game,” Chargers defensive lineman Brandon Mebane said. “That was like a playoff game.”
Wilson was 26 of 39 for 235 yards, and threw a 10-yard TD pass to Jaron Brown on Seattle’s opening drive.
Rivers became the fourth quarterback in league history to start 200 straight games, joining Brett Favre, Eli Manning and Peyton Manning. Favre started an NFL-record 297 straight times in the regular season. This wasn’t like his 2010 performance in Seattle when Rivers threw for 455 yards, but he made key throws at important times, especially in the first half. The Chargers averaged 10 yards per play in the first half and scored touchdowns on three of their five possessions, the last one taking just 55 seconds to find the end zone on a 30-yard catch-and-run by Mike Williams.
Gordon averaged 7.1 yards per carry and ran through huge holes in the second half. His 34-yard touchdown run early in the second quarter gave him 34 TDs in his past 36 games after going scoreless in his first 14 games.
Seattle also didn’t have answers for Keenan Allen, who had 124 yards on six receptions.
“It’s great, any time we can go on the road, loudest place in the league and get a win the way we did,” Allen said. “I thought it was dominating, outside the points we missed, but pretty great.”
Carson didn’t play much after the first quarter, spending most of the time on the sideline with a wrap on his upper left leg due to a hip injury. Carson had 40 yards on eight carries before going to the bench. … Seattle played the second half without starting strong safety Bradley McDougald due to a knee injury. He had been questionable on the final injury report. … Guard D.J. Fluker injured a leg in the fourth quarter.
Seattle played a lengthy tribute video honoring owner Paul Allen who died on Oct. 15 due to complications from non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. They also had a moment of silence for Allen and had the “12 Flag” that’s raised before every game lowered to half-staff.
Seattle also had logos added to the field reading “PGA” similar to the patches the team had added to its uniforms.
“We love the spirit that he stood for,” Carroll said. “He affected all of us… his wisdom and his charity and his love for this area.”
Chargers kicker Caleb Sturgis might be looking for a new job after missing two extra points and a 42-yard field goal attempt. Sturgis is the first kicker with a missed extra point and missed field goal in three straight games since Raiders kicker Jim Breech in 1979.
Chargers: Travel to Oakland to face the Raiders.
Seahawks: At NFC West foe Los Angeles Rams.
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Khachanov stuns Djokovic to win his 1st Paris Masters title
By JEROME PUGMIRE
AP Sports Writer
Sunday, November 4
PARIS (AP) — Karen Khachanov upset a tired-looking Novak Djokovic 7-5, 6-4 to win the Paris Masters title and deprive Djokovic of the chance on Sunday to match Rafael Nadal’s record of 33 Masters titles.
Djokovic, a record four-time champion at the indoor event, looked out of energy after an epic three-hour semifinal win against Roger Federer on Saturday.
After also being taken to three sets by Marin Cilic in Friday’s quarterfinals, Djokovic’s semifinal finished at around 8 p.m. local time and he felt he was unable to recover sufficiently from that draining encounter.
“I didn’t unfortunately. But I don’t want to talk about that,” Djokovic said. “I want to talk about how well (Khachanov) played all week and absolutely deserved to win today.”
Asked again whether it was a case of emotional fatigue, after such an intense tussle with Federer, Djokovic repeated his praise for Khachanov.
“Karen played really well and he deserved to win,” Djokovic said. “All the credit to him.”
Although Djokovic broke in the fourth game to move 3-1 up and then led 30-0 on serve, the unseeded Khachanov broke him straight back and the momentum abruptly shifted away from Djokovic.
“I stepped in more inside the court,” Khachanov said. “I started to move him and maybe he didn’t expect that I could do it after being down 3-1 with a break.”
Djokovic seemed agitated at times and twice turned to his box to remonstrate about an unspecified issue during the first set.
Khachanov broke for 6-5 when he hit a powerful shot down the line that Djokovic could only scoop back into the net. The Russian won the first set with a big first serve that Djokovic could not return, stretching out his racket in vain as the fizzing ball clipped the frame.
Djokovic struggled to handle Khachanov’s brutal two-handed, cross-court backhands from the baseline, which often landed near his ankles, and dropped his serve again to trail 2-1 in the second set. He had to save three more break points in the seventh game to hold for 4-3 down.
“He was playing big from the back of the court, flat backhands and forehand. He can really hurt you,” Djokovic said. “His serve is really, really strong and precise.”
After both players held to love, Khachanov showed no nerves — even though he was in his first Masters final — and served out the match.
He secured victory on his first match point when Djokovic chopped a backhand return wide. The imposing Khachanov thrust both his arms in the air and, moments later, knelt down to kiss the court.
“It’s a breakthrough season. And this title, it’s a good year-end I would say,” Khachanov said. “Maybe I’m not crying, but still I’m really happy.”
Djokovic will return to No. 1 in the rankings for the first time in two years on Monday, but the Serb will be disappointed at missing out on a 73rd career title, having withstood the best of Federer on Saturday.
Still, the Wimbledon and U.S. Open champion has plenty to feel good about after a 22-match winning streak, and he remains favorite for the season-ending ATP Finals in London, beginning Nov. 11.
“I’m satisfied of course and I’m going to be No. 1 tomorrow. What more can I ask for? I mean, I won 20-plus matches in a row and had a most amazing last five months,” he said. “I’m getting into (the) season finale feeling good about my game.”
The 22-year-old Khachanov, ranked 18th, is the first Russian to win here since Nikolay Davydenko in 2006. Marat Safin won it three times before that.
Two-time Grand Slam champion Safin won the last of his Paris Masters titles in 2004, when Khachanov was a young boy.
“I watched (Safin’s) matches but later, not at the age of eight,” he said. “I’m just really proud of myself that I could be in this list of winners.”
Khachanov added this title to the Kremlin Cup in Moscow last month for his third title of the year and fourth overall.
He had won his previous three finals, and said his 100 percent record helped him when he stepped on court against the 14-time Grand Slam champion.
“I was thinking, ‘OK, (Djokovic) has, I don’t know, 70 titles and I have three,’” Khachanov said. “But 3-0, you know? So maybe it was in the back of my mind.”
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