Kobe passes Shaq on all-time scoring list

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Kobe passes Shaq on all-time scoring list

From Comcast SportsNet
PHILADELPHIA (AP) -- Kobe Bryant had his place in history. With "Beat L.A.!" echoing through a second straight sellout crowd, Lou Williams had his shot to remember. Williams nailed the go-ahead 3-pointer, scored 14 of his 24 points in the fourth quarter, and spoiled Bryant's record-setting night while leading the Philadelphia 76ers to 95-90 win over the Los Angeles Lakers on Monday night. Williams hit the tying jumper, then followed with the 3 for a 91-88 lead in front of 20,064 fans -- a number that for the first time in years was there to root on the Sixers instead of simply to boo Bryant. Williams hit another floater to make it 93-88, part of a fantastic fourth that saw him hold off Bryant and help the Sixers improve to 13-3 at home. "From the start of my basketball career, and for as long as I could remember, I've always played well in the fourth quarter," Williams said. "I know that's the most important time of a basketball game." Bryant scored 24 of his 28 points in the first half. He passed former teammate Shaquille O'Neal and moved into fifth place on the NBA's career scoring list. Bryant got 24 points in a hurry to pass O'Neal, but stumbled down the stretch and missed nine of his 10 shots in the fourth. The 33-year-old Bryant, the NBA's leading scorer with 29.4 points, has 28,601 career points. Bryant said it was an honor to pass O'Neal because of "our history." "All the battles we've been in, the playoff battles, the duo that we've been able to form," Bryant said. "When you (consider) the championships, it makes it a little more significant." Andrew Bynum had 20 points and 20 rebounds for the Lakers. Pau Gasol had 16 points and 11 rebounds. The Lakers fell to 3-9 on the road. The Sixers went 3-1 last week against a fierce lineup of Orlando, Chicago, Miami (the loss) and Atlanta. It's more of the same this week: San Antonio is here Wednesday and the Los Angeles Clippers on Friday. The Sixers have proven they can handle the rugged schedule. They committed only four turnovers, a minuscule number that was enough to make up for getting pounded on the boards. Led by Bynum and Gasol, the Lakers outrebounded Philadelphia 55-30. Williams, one of the top sixth men in the NBA, has never been afraid to take the clutch shot. While the Sixers have soared in the East this season with a team-oriented approach, Williams is the one the Sixers want with the ball and the game on the line. "That was an amazing win for us," coach Doug Collins said. Lakers coach Mike Brown must have been unhappy watching on TV. Brown served a one-game suspension for making contact with a game official and failure to leave the court in a timely manner following his ejection in Saturday's game. He also was fined 25,000. John Keuster filled in for Brown. Bryant started like a shooter determined to score 50. His first bucket saw the ball take a few whirls around the rim before plopping through the net. Bryant buried a 3, then backed down Evan Turner and used a soft touch off a spin move for seven quick points. He stared down Andre Iguodala for a 3. Bryant nailed two more 3-pointers -- each one drawing more boos than the last -- and had 22 points in the second quarter. For the record setter, Bryant cut toward the top of the 3-point arc, took a fast feed from Matt Barnes and hit the 23-footer. Originally called a 3, Bryant had his foot on the line. Three points or two, it was enough to pass O'Neal. Bryant went 8 for 14 from the floor and made 4 of 6 3s in the first half to help the Lakers lead 50-46 at the break. He went into hibernation until an up-and-under bucket late in the third pulled the Lakers to 63-61. O'Neal and Bryant often clashed, even while leading the Lakers to NBA championships in 2000, 2001 and 2002. O'Neal won an NBA championship with Miami in 2006 to briefly edge Bryant in total championships. Under coach Phil Jackson, Bryant won consecutive championships in 2009 and 2010, and had long ago cemented his spot as one of the NBA's all-time greats. Kobe already had more championship rings than Shaq. He has more points, too. "I just want No. 6," Bryant said. The Sixers failed to acknowledge the special achievement. O'Neal offered his congratulations on Twitter: "Congrats to Kobe for being the greatest laker ever thanks for making us the greatest laker one two punch ever and congrats on passin me up 2." "I appreciate it. I'm sure Shaq and I will connect at some point and revisit history," he said. "It's fun. We had some good times." Bryant, who spent eight years of his childhood in Italy before returning to the area to attend high school, had already been the youngest player in NBA history to reach 28,000 points. Bryant led Lower Merion to a state championship in 1996 and still makes visits and donations to the school. The relationship between Philly fans and Bryant has been strained since the 2001 NBA finals against the Sixers, when he proclaimed he was "coming to Philly to cut their hearts out." That began an unforgiving attitude from Sixers fanatics that continues to this day. When commissioner David Stern presented Bryant with the All-Star game MVP trophy in 2002 in Philadelphia, the boos were long and loud, and he later admitted he was hurt. He now feeds off Philadelphia's sound and delights in upsetting the home crowd. It just wasn't enough to upset the 76ers. Notes: 76ers F Elton Brand sat out with a sprained right thumb. Lavoy Allen got the start. ... Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Karl Malone, Michael Jordan and Wilt Chamberlain are ahead of Bryant on the scoring list. ... The Sixers 14 rebounds in the first half was a season low.

Cody Whitehair Chicago Bears NFL Draft Profile

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Cody Whitehair Chicago Bears NFL Draft Profile

As part of our coverage leading up to the 2016 NFL Draft we will provide profiles of more than 150 prospects, including a scouting report and video interviews with each player.

Cody Whitehair (OL), Kansas St.

6’4” | 301 lbs.

Selection:

2nd Round, 56th overall to Chicago Bears

Scouting Report:

"Many expect Whitehair to be the next tackle to guard transition. Why can’t he succeed at guard? The answer I point to is his wide base that has been and might be an issue against edge rushers with speed. It was the same for Zack Martin. Whitehair has powerful hands and will control you in tight spaces when in proper positioning. Guards can be just as important as tackles." - Josh Norris, Rotoworld.com

Video analysis provided by NBC Sports and Rotoworld NFL Draft expert Josh Norris.

Robin Ventura used blowout loss to rest key White Sox

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Robin Ventura used blowout loss to rest key White Sox

BALTIMORE — One of the few positives to Thursday night’s blowout loss to the Baltimore Orioles is it offered Robin Ventura a chance to rest several players.

With the White Sox down by eight runs, Todd Frazier, Jose Abreu and Jimmy Rollins all exited a cold, windy and miserable contest two innings early. For Frazier, it was the first two innings he hasn’t played all season out of 205. Even though it’s only two innings, Ventura thinks it was a nice breather for a team in the middle of a span with 19 games in 19 days.

“The way we’re playing, you just try to get them off their feet,” Ventura said. “If I had more guys to do that with I probably would have. But you’re trying to get those guys out of there. If it would happen again, you’d get (Brett) Lawrie or someone like that out of there. You’re just hoping it helps them somewhat. It doesn’t sound like a lot, two innings. But in a game like that, it helps. It’s a little sticky out there. It’s just a way to get them out of the game and they feel like they get somewhat of a break.”

Frazier likes that the rest got some plate appearances for his teammates. Otherwise, he’d rather be out there. But Frazier gets that it’s important for Ventura to find playing time for Carlos Sanchez, Tyler Saladino and Jerry Sands.

He also admitted he didn’t mind sitting the final six outs of a contest where the temperature at first pitch was 48 degrees.

“It's different in the American League — you might go a month without hitting it seems like,” Frazier said. “To get guys in there that need at-bats, that’s probably the best thing that comes out of it. You don’t ever want to be out of the game, but it was a cold day. Robin understands it was damp and there’s just a right time to get them in there.”

Jaylon Smith’s ex-Notre Dame teammates, coaches confident he’ll succeed in NFL

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Jaylon Smith’s ex-Notre Dame teammates, coaches confident he’ll succeed in NFL

The speculation about Jaylon Smith won’t end until he finally sets foot on an NFL field and proves that his knee has fully healed. The Dallas Cowboys drafted Smith with the 34th pick in the 2016 NFL Draft on Friday with the expectation he’ll have a lengthy, successful career in the NFL (

). 

Smith is in relatively uncharted territory when it comes to the damage to the stretched peroneal nerve in his left knee. But universally, Smith’s coaches and former teammates expressed optimism about his recovery and gushed about the elite abilities possessed by the 2015 Butkus Award winner. 

“His traits of explosion and speed and all the physical traits we talk about, they’re top-line,” Irish defensive coordinator Brian VanGorder said. “But the big thing with him is he’s a pro. He can walk in any pro locker room, any pro meeting room — he’s incredible in the meeting room — and he’ll talk better football than a lot of those guys that are already there. He’s very knowledgeable. Worked at it hard. Wanted to see the big picture of football. 

“So he’s NFL ready the minute he walks into a meeting room. Incredible note-taker. He’s just — if I were still in the pros and I drafted him, I can’t imagine that I’ve ever had any rookie come in that would be where he is. He’s just so far ahead. So far ahead.”

VanGorder has a keen knowledge of what it takes to succeed as a linebacker in the NFL, too, having spent four years as the Atlanta Falcons’ defensive coordinator and single seasons as the linebackers’ coach for the Falcons, Jacksonville Jaguars and New York Jets. 

“He’s gonna have a hell of a career, he is one heck of a football player and it’s very, very important to him,” VanGorder said. “He’s a champion. He has a champion attitude. He’ll be good.”

While Smith’s trophy-winning junior season certainly was extraordinary, that he still totaled 114 tackles in 2014 was impressive in a different way. That year, Smith was learning a new position — Will inside linebacker in VanGorder’s 4-3 scheme — and was frequently caught out of position, especially after talismanic middle linebacker Joe Schmidt suffered a season-ending injury against Navy. 

But even though Smith struggled with the move inside, his athleticism took over to generate that triple-digit tackle total. Seeing Smith glide from the field to the boundary to make a tackle on an opposing running back was a somewhat common occurrence. 

“Jaylon was a production man,” Notre Dame linebackers coach Mike Elston said. “He made everybody else around him better because he was gonna make up for you. You got reached as a defensive tackle? He was gonna get to the ball and make the tackle. It didn’t matter. Doesn’t matter what happens in front of him. Jaylon made up for a lot of things. He was productive.”

Former Notre Dame linebacker Jarrett Grace offered a different perspective on what made Smith such a good player. 

“If he wasn’t in class, I don’t know if he’d instantly transport and just be right here in the (Guglielmino Athletics Complex), in the film room, just wanting more and more and more,” Grace said. “Because he didn’t necessarily want to rely on his physical ability. That’s a tremendous trait, God-given and something he’s worked toward as well. 

“But what makes these guys great players is their instincts on the field and they’re able to direct that to the ball, to the play, understanding the game as well. That’s just taking it to the next level. There’s plenty of tremendous athletes out there, you’ll see guys pop up all the time with these crazy numbers, jumping like this. But Jaylon has that and the other side.”

Coach Brian Kelly found himself publicly politicking for Smith over the past few weeks, trying to convey what impressed him so much about his former linebacker to an NFL audience. All Smith needed was a chance, according to Kelly, and he’d prove to be the kind of linebacker he was at Notre Dame — and maybe a better one, too. 

The Dallas Cowboys, on Friday, gave Smith that chance. 

“He’s going to come back from this injury, and when he does, he’s going to be one of the best linebackers in the NFL,” Kelly said. “He has that kind of ability. … Jaylon is somebody that has an incredible, positive attitude. 

“Look, he’s not a gamble. He’s a smart business decision.”