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Monday
Dec262011

NFL Preview: Falcons (9-5) @ Saints (11-3) 

Scott Boehm/Getty Images(NEW ORLEANS) -- The Atlanta Falcons (9-5) will take on the New Orleans Saints (11-3) on Monday night in an NFC South division game.

The Saints, who already locked up a spot in this year's playoffs, will be looking to clinch the South with a win and a first-round bye.

The Falcons, who seem to be primed for another playoff appearance, will travel to New Orleans, and could still win the AFC South if they were to secure a win Monday night, followed by another Saints loss next week, and an additional Falcons win in week 17.

"We control what we can control," Falcons coach Mike Smith said. "It's obvious our guys are familiar with the scenarios we are in. I know our guys are aware of it. We're not going to change our preparation, how we prepare. We try to be as steady as we can and just continue to move forward like we have all season."

The Saints will wrap up their regular season next week at home against Carolina.  The Falcons will also be at home againt the Buccaneers.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Monday
Dec262011

Thunder Storm Past Magic, 97-89

Christian Petersen/Getty Images(OKLAHOMA CITY) -- If there's any team that seems poised to run right through the shortened NBA season and into the playoffs this year, it's the Oklahoma City Thunder, who took their first game on opening night Sunday with a 97-89 win over the Orlando Magic.

The Thunder defense held Dwight Howard to 11 points on 4-of-11 shooting.

Kevin Durant, who has led the league in scoring the past two seasons, dropped in 30 points for Oklahoma City in the victory.

"We know there are outside expectations," Thunder coach Scott Brooks said. "But there aren't absolutes or guarantees. Our guys just work. I know it gets boring at times, but we like that. We're not going to change. We're all in the same boat on that. You can never become complacent. It has to be about the team."

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Monday
Dec262011

Chris Paul Guides Clippers to First Win

National Basketball Association(OAKLAND, Calif.) -- It was an impressive debut for the Los Angeles Clippers on opening night as their new guard, Chris Paul, did exactly what he was brought to L.A. to do: come through in the clutch.

Paul chipped in 20 points and nine assists in the game and the Clippers took care of the Golden State Warriors on Sunday, 105-86.  Blake Griffin led the way with 22 points; finishing behind him was newly-acquired Chauncey Billups with 21 points. 

"While we try to figure each other out and learn guys' hot spots and stuff like that, we want to win at the same time," Paul said. "We just keep talking about 'We've just got to find a way to win, regardless of how it looks, how ugly the game is, we've got to find ways to win.' "

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Monday
Dec262011

Heat Ruin Mavericks' Celebration

Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images(DALLAS) -- Six months removed from their loss to the Dallas Mavericks in the NBA Finals, the Miami Heat got some revenge Sunday with a 105-94 win over the defending champs.

It was only during the pre-game ceremony that the Mavericks' faithful had a chance to make noise as the team unveiled its championship banner.

The Heat however, were not in attendance for the ceremony; they chose to gather in another part of the building while it was going on.

But they did show up on the court and at one point were up by 35 points midway through the third quarter.  LeBron James put in a 37-point effort and his teammate Dwyane Wade chipped in with 27 of his own.

"We're all a focused bunch.  We wanted to come in with the same mindset as we had in practice," said LeBron James.  "It was a good test going against a good team. We played well."

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Monday
Dec262011

Bulls Edge the Lakers on Christmas Day

Chicago Bulls/NBA(LOS ANGELES) -- The Chicago Bulls stole one from the Los Angeles Lakers on Sunday, the first day of a shortened NBA season. 

With 4.8 seconds remaining in the game, Bulls guard Derrick Rose hit the game-winning jumper to give Chicago an 88-87 win.

"If it weren't for my teammates, making the steal and getting the ball to me at the end, there's no way I could have gotten that shot off to help us win that game," Rose said.

The win was the first for the Bulls on Christmas Day since the Michael Jordan years.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Monday
Dec262011

Packers Lock Up Top Seed in the NFC

Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images(GREEN BAY, Wis.) -- The Green Bay Packers beat the Chicago Bears 35-21 on Sunday, giving them home-field advantage throughout the NFC playoffs.

"We wanted the path to go through Lambeau," Packers coach Mike McCarthy said.

This is quite the opposite from when the Packers entered the playoffs last year, when they backed into the playoffs as a six seed.

The Packers play their final game of the regular season Sunday against the Lions.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Sunday
Dec252011

Scoreboard Roundup - 12/25/11

Thomas Northcut/Digital Vision(NEW YORK) -- NBA: The New York Knicks (1-0) hung on to beat the Boston Celtics (0-1), 106-104.

The Miami Heat (1-0) topped the Dallas Mavericks (0-1), 105-94.

The Chicago Bulls (1-0) rallied past the Los Angeles Lakers (0-1), 88-87.

The Oklahoma City Thunder (1-0) outmaneuvered the Orlando Magic (0-1), 97-89.

The Los Angeles Clippers (1-0) popped the Golden State Warriors (0-1), 105-86.

NFL: The Green Bay Packers (14-1) clinched home-field throughout the playoffs after beating the Chicago Bears (7-8), 35-21.

NCAA Basketball: (14) Xavier (9-3) stomped Southern Illinois (3-9), 87-77.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Sunday
Dec252011

Adrian Peterson Has Torn ACL, MCL

Patrick Smith/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- The Minnesota Vikings are in the midst of a disappointing 3-12 season, but to add insult to inury, the team found out that star running back Adrian Peterson suffered a devastating knee injury. An MRI revealed that Peterson tore his ACL and sources have told ESPN's Josina Anderson that Peterson also tore his MCL.

Peterson was hurt during the team's 33-26 win over the Washington Redskins. He suffered the injury when he was tackled by Redskins safety DeJon Gomes after Peterson had a three-yard run on the team's first offensive play of the second half.

The injury will likely sideline Peterson for at least nine months and a return to the field by mid-season would be the Vikings best-case scenario.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Sunday
Dec252011

49ers' David Akers New Field Goal King

Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images(SEATTLE) -- Among the free agent signings during the condensed NFL offseason, the San Francisco 49ers' signing of kicker David Akers was one of those that more-or-less flew under the radar. But in retrospect, it may have been one of the best free agent moves of the summer.

Akers kicked four field goals during the team's 19-17 win over the Seattle Seahawks, giving him 42 on the season. He now holds the NFL record for the most field goals in a single season. The previous record was held by Houston Texans kicker Neil Rackers, who kicked 38 field goals back in 2005 when he was a member of the Arizona Cardinals.

"All our players and coaches, everybody is real happy for David's success," 49ers head coach Jim Harbaugh said after the win.

Akers is in his 12th season in the NFL. This is his first season with the 49ers after spending his whole career with the Philadelphia Eagles.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Sunday
Dec252011

Maple Leafs Give Coach Ron Wilson Contract Extension

Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images(TORONTO) -- In the spirit of the holiday season, the Toronto Maple Leafs have given head coach Ron Wilson a gift to remember. The team has agreed to extend Wilson's contract, despite its struggles in recent seasons. Terms of the deal were not immediately released.

"He came. He came!" Wilson tweeted Christmas morning, perhaps referring to Santa Claus. "Remember saying that as a kid? Well he did: I got a new Red Ryder BB gun and a contract extension!"

The 56-year old Wilson was hired by the Maple Leafs in June of 2008 and has gone 119-120-42 over that span. Wilson has the most wins of any other active NHL coach with 637. Despite his success, which spans 18 seasons, he has yet to lead the Maple Leafs to the playoffs.

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