From Comcast SportsNetAUSTIN, Texas(AP) --Lance Armstrong has finally come clean.The cyclist confessed to doping during an interview with Oprah Winfrey taped Monday, just a couple of hours after a wrenching apology to staff at the Livestrong charity he founded and has now been forced to surrender.The emotional day ended with 2 12 hours of questions from Winfrey, where she said the world's most famous cyclist was "forthcoming" as she asked him in detail about doping allegations that followed him throughout his seven Tour de France victories.Winfrey told CBS on Tuesday she had not planned to address Armstrong's confession before the interview aired on her OWN network Thursday but, "by the time I left Austin and landed in Chicago, you all had already confirmed it.""So I'm sitting here now because it's already been confirmed," she added.Winfrey said the interview will now run in two parts over two nights because there is so much material.Winfrey would not characterize whether Armstrong seemed contrite but said he seemed ready for the interview. "I would say he met the moment," she said.The confession was a stunning reversal for a proud athlete and celebrity who sought lavish praise and used courtrooms to punish his critics.For more than a decade, Armstrong dared anybody who challenged his version of events to prove it. Finally, he told the tale himself after promising over the weekend to answer Winfrey's questions "directly, honestly and candidly."The cyclist was stripped of his Tour titles, lost most of his endorsements and was forced to leave Livestrong last year after the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency issued a damning, 1,000-page report that accused him of masterminding a long-running doping scheme.The International Cycling Union, or UCI, issued a statement on Tuesday saying it was aware of the reports that Armstrong had confessed to Winfrey. The governing body for the sport urged Armstrong to tell his story to an independent commission it has set up to examine claims it covered up suspicious samples from the cyclist, accepted financial donations from him and helped him avoid detection in doping tests.Armstrong started Monday with a visit to the headquarters of Livestrong, the charity he founded in 1997 and turned into a global force on the strength of his athletic dominance and personal story of surviving testicular cancer that had spread to his lungs and brain.Armstrong told staffers "I'm sorry." He choked up during a 20-minute talk, expressing regret for the long-running controversy tied to performance-enhancers had caused, but stopped short of admitting he used them.He urged them to continue the charity's mission, helping cancer patients and their families."Heartfelt and sincere," is how Livestrong spokeswoman Katherine McLane described his speech.Armstrong later huddled with almost a dozen people before stepping into the interview with Winfrey. The group included close friends and lawyers. They exchanged handshakes and smiles, but declined comment.Winfrey has promoted her interview as a "no-holds barred" session, and after the voluminous USADA report -- which included testimony from 11 former teammates -- she said she went into the session with 112 questions ready to go. Not all of them were asked, she said, but many were.USADA chief executive Travis Tygart, a longtime critic of Armstrong's, called the drug regimen practiced while Armstrong led the U.S. Postal Service team "the most sophisticated, professionalized and successful doping program that sport has ever seen." USADA did not respond to requests for comment about Armstrong's confession.For years, Armstrong went after his critics ruthlessly during his reign as cycling champion. He scolded some in public and didn't hesitate to punish outspoken riders during the race itself. He waged legal battles against still others in court.At least one of his opponents, the London-based Sunday Times, has already filed a lawsuit to recover about 500,000 it paid him to settle a libel case, and Texas-based SCA Promotions, which tried to deny Armstrong a promised bonus for a Tour de France win, has threatened to bring another lawsuit seeking to recover more than 7.5 million awarded by an arbitration panel.In Australia, the government of South Australia state said Tuesday it will seek the repayment of several million dollars in appearance fees paid to Armstrong for competing in the Tour Down Under in 2009, 2010 and 2011."We'd be more than happy for Mr. Armstrong to make any repayment of monies to us," South Australia Premier Jay Weatherill said.Betsy Andreu, the wife of former Armstrong teammate Frankie Andreu, was one of the first to publicly accuse Armstrong of using performance-enhancing drugs. She called news of Armstrong's confession "very emotional and very sad," and choked up when asked to comment."He used to be one of my husband's best friends and because he wouldn't go along with the doping, he got kicked to the side," she said. "Lance could have a positive impact if he tells the truth on everything. He's got to be completely honest."Betsy Andreu testified in SCA's arbitration case challenging the bonus in 2005, saying Armstrong admitted in an Indiana hospital room in 1996 that he had taken many performance-enhancing drugs, a claim Armstrong vehemently denied."It would be nice if he would come out and say the hospital room happened," Andreu said. "That's where it all started."Former teammate Floyd Landis, who was stripped of the 2006 Tour de France title for doping, has filed a federal whistleblower lawsuit that accused Armstrong of defrauding the U.S. Postal Service. An attorney familiar with Armstrong's legal problems told the AP that the Justice Department is highly likely to join the lawsuit. The False Claims Act lawsuit could result in Armstrong paying a substantial amount of money to the U.S. government. The deadline for the department to join the case is Thursday, though the department could seek an extension if necessary.According to the attorney, who works outside the government, the lawsuit alleges that Armstrong defrauded the U.S. government based on his years of denying use of performance-enhancing drugs. The attorney spoke on condition of anonymity because the source was not authorized to speak on the record about the matter.The lawsuit most likely to be influenced by a confession might be the Sunday Times case. Potential perjury charges stemming from Armstrong's sworn testimony in the 2005 arbitration fight would not apply because of the statute of limitations. Armstrong was not deposed during the federal investigation that was closed last year.Armstrong is said to be worth around 100 million. But most sponsors dropped him after USADA's scathing report -- at the cost of tens of millions of dollars -- and soon after, he left the board of Livestrong.After the USADA findings, he was also barred from competing in the elite triathlon or running events he participated in after his cycling career. World Anti-Doping Code rules state his lifetime ban cannot be reduced to less than eight years. WADA and U.S. Anti-Doping officials could agree to reduce the ban further depending on what information Armstrong provides and his level of cooperation.
Doug McDermott wasn’t exactly hunting for his first shot, but the first time he touched the ball in an NBA game in nearly a month wasn’t the optimal situation for him to let one fly.
It wasn’t in transition where he runs to an opening behind the 3-point line, nor was it a drive-and-kick situation where the help defense collapsed and left him open. It was a regular, simple, pass to the perimeter and McDermott’s defender was in reasonable proximity with 3:23 left in the first quarter.
He launched and the crowd soon roared its approval as his sweet jumper was sorely missed by the Bulls bench brigade—and moments later when he ran the floor for a fearless layup that caused Spurs coach Gregg Popovich to call a timeout, McDermott showed he missed the United Center crowd too, calling for more noise on his way to the bench.
“Anytime you have a guy like Doug, he comes back and makes his first 3, that’s hard to do,” Bulls coach Fred Hoiberg said. “He stepped up with confidence on that first shot. I’m sure he had a lot of nerves getting back out there.”
Missing 12 games and suffering two concussions, McDermott looked right at home in 25 minutes of run Thursday as the Bulls were able to rely on their reserves in some form in their 95-91 win over the previously perfect road warriors known as the Spurs.
“We defended and kept them off the foul line,” McDermott said. “Coach (Jim) Boylen was with them, so we feel we know them and I think all this time they were missing my defense.”
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The last statement was certainly tongue-in-cheek, but the Bulls’ bench production was certainly missing in action while he was out with the concussion protocol. So much so that his return prompted the Bulls’ coaching staff to call out the reserves in the morning shootaround, demanding more.
“It’s definitely Dwyane (Wade) and Jimmy (Butler) and (Rajon) Rondo (but) the coaching staff kinda called out our bench like, we gotta have you tonight, bench,” McDermott said. “We took that to heart, we were really locked in.”
Seemingly his presence aided the Bulls’ spirits and production, as the Bulls’ bench had the least effective scoring bench in the NBA since Nov. 13, the day after McDermott hit the unforgiving floor against the Wizards for his second concussion this season.
Their net rating ranks ahead of only the Wizards, Mavericks and Nets, who are a combined 17-45 this season. Their effective field goal percentage, which takes into account 3-pointers, is worst in the league in that span (42.3 percent).
When McDermott was healthy for that smaller sample size, the Bulls’ bench ranked fifth in offensive efficiency, seventh in net rating, and fifth in efficient field goal percentage. Whether McDermott – and his absence – was directly related to those numbers, it’s clear the Bulls are better when they have their best reserve – and only true floor spacers on the second unit – on the court.
“We’re all professionals and we want to help the guys who are busting their butts in the first unit to get us the leads,” McDermott said. “Tonight we did a great job of sustaining it. We take it personal when teams come back on us.”
Nikola Mirotic was four of eight from the field, and Cristiano Felicio seems to be back in Fred Hoiberg’s good graces as he’s carved out a rotation spot for himself with nine points and seven rebounds in 18 minutes.
It seems as if Hoiberg will stick with this rotation of players, at least for a little while until Michael Carter-Williams returns from his injuries. If McDermott is the mark of the Bulls’ bench going from bottom feeder to adequate, it should show this month.
“When he’s out there on the floor and we get him coming off screens, it forces the defense to shift as another person they need to be aware of,” Hoiberg said. “It opens up driving lanes for our guys. It was great to have Doug back with us.”
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