Chicago White Sox

Knicks suffer epic collapse in loss to Pacers

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Knicks suffer epic collapse in loss to Pacers

From Comcast SportsNet
INDIANAPOLIS (AP) -- The matchup was reminiscent of the classic Pacers-Knicks games from the 1990s. The crowd was electric, the action was chippy, Reggie Miller jerseys were plentiful, and Indiana rallied from a seemingly hopeless deficit to win. Danny Granger played the role of Miller, scoring 14 of his 27 points in the fourth quarter as the Pacers rallied from 17 points down late in the third quarter to take a 112-104 victory on Tuesday night. Granger made all three of his 3-pointers in the fourth quarter, a fitting performance one day after Miller was announced as a member of the Basketball Hall of Fame's 2012 class. Miller, one of the most prolific 3-point shooters in NBA history, was known for clutch shooting and leading comebacks. He saved his most spectacular performances for the Knicks. "I guess it was from one shooter to another, my tribute to Reggie Miller," Granger said. Area 55, designated for Roy Hibbert fans, was filled with more No. 31 Reggie Miller jerseys than the usual No. 55 Hibbert jerseys. Fans in that section at one point unveiled a banner resembling the one that hangs in the rafters honoring Miller. Chants of "Reg-gie, Reg-gie" rang out from that section before the game, but in the fourth quarter, those chants became "Dan-ny, Dan-ny." Granger has scored plenty of points in his career, he wants the reputation Miller has -- that of a winner. "It's playoff time," Granger said. "We need momentum going into these playoffs. For the first time in a lot of years, we have a really good team and can make a lot of noise." Paul George scored 12 of his 18 points in the fourth quarter and reserves Leandro Barbosa and Dahntay Jones added 12 points each for the Pacers. Carmelo Anthony scored a season-high 39 points and grabbed 10 rebounds for the Knicks. Landry Fields scored 15 points and Tyson Chandler added 12 points and 14 rebounds for New York, which fell to 9-3 under interim coach Mike Woodson. Anthony said the loss was inexcusable. "I think we got a little bit complacent being up 17," he said. "They stuck with it, they played harder coming into that fourth quarter. They played harder." New York is battling for a playoff spot without two of its best players. Forward Amare Stoudemire (back) missed a fifth straight game, and point guard Jeremy Lin is out for the regular season after having surgery on his left knee. The loss stung considering the fourth-quarter collapse and the fact that the Knicks nearly stole one on the road short-handed. "It was just unfortunate," Anthony said. "We can't have that." Indiana led 101-93 in the fourth quarter before New York rallied. A three-point play, then a 3-pointer by Anthony cut Indiana's lead to 101-99. The Pacers led 106-102 and New York had another chance to get close. Anthony's 3-pointer from the left wing was off and Paul George rebounded. George was fouled and made two free throws. George then stole J.R. Smith's inbounds pass and dunked. On New York's next offensive possession, Smith threw Barbosa to the ground, was called for a flagrant 2 and ejected. New York finished the first half on an 11-2 run to take a 59-51 lead into the break, and the Knicks quickly pushed the lead to double figures at the start of the third quarter. A three-point play by Baron Davis bumped New York's lead to 13 before Indiana rallied. Indiana's David West got loose on a fast break, and made a basket as he was undercut by New York's Iman Shumpert. West converted the free throw to cut New York's lead to eight points, and a jumper by George Hill drew Indiana within six. New York rallied, and a 3-pointer by Steve Novak pushed New York's lead to 87-70 in the final minute of the third quarter. Indiana opened the fourth quarter with an 8-2 run. A layup by Granger cut New York's lead to 89-80, got the crowd back into the game and forced New York to call timeout. Indiana continued its run after the timeout. A free throw by George cut New York's lead to one point, and Granger's 3-pointer with 6:35 to go tied the game at 91. "They made a huge run on their home court," Anthony said. "They tried to make one last push, which they did. Even though we were up, it seemed like we were battling uphill the whole time." A lineup switch in the second half keyed Indiana's comeback. The Pacers moved George from shooting guard to small forward and Granger from small forward to power forward to give Anthony a tougher matchup. Anthony was playing power forward because Stoudemire was out, and Indiana's usual power forwards, West and Tyler Hansbrough, couldn't keep up. Pacers coach Frank Vogel said Granger accepted the challenge. "He was dominant on both ends," Vogel said. "He really manned up and guarded Carmelo at a very high level." Granger wasn't too upset with Anthony's point total. "Carmelo, it's hard to stop him completely," Granger said. "I just wanted to make his shots difficult for him. Even the shots he made, just make them tough shots. He got 39 points, but we got the win." Notes: The Pacers wore their alternate gold uniforms. ... Indiana matched its win total of 32 from 2009-10, Jim O'Brien's last full season as coach. ... Novak's 3-pointer at the end of the first quarter tied the game at 31. ... Indiana University coach Tom Crean attended the game.

Joining Hall-of-Fame company the latest feat for Jose Abreu, White Sox model of consistency

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USA TODAY

Joining Hall-of-Fame company the latest feat for Jose Abreu, White Sox model of consistency

Just how valuable is Jose Abreu to the White Sox?

Well, whenever you join Albert Pujols and Joe DiMaggio as the only baseball players ever to do something, you must be pretty darn valuable.

Abreu joined that elite company Saturday night, driving in both runs in the White Sox forgettable 8-2 loss to the visiting Kansas City Royals. Those RBIs brought his total to 100 on the season, making him the third major leaguer ever to hit at least 25 homers and drive in at least 100 runs in his first four seasons.

“Every year after a season I meet with my family and we review my season and my stats. Last year when we had the meeting, I told them next year I’m gonna hit 30 homers, I’m gonna drive in at least 100 and I did it,” Abreu said through an interpreter. “I was able to do it and that’s something that made me feel proud of myself and proud of my family, too, because they have been the ones who have been supported me through my whole career."

Abreu’s known as an extremely hard worker, a template to follow for many if not all of the youngsters coming up as the future stars of the White Sox rebuild. And so it makes this moment all the sweeter for him and those around him.

“It is especially important not just for me but for my family and my team,” Abreu said. “I think that this is a reward for the effort and all the work you put in for preparation for your season. It’s special when you get this kind of result and consistency in your stats. But the most important thing is it’s a reward for my family. And this organization, maybe we are not in the position we want to be right now as a team, but I know that better times are to come.”

“He works extremely hard,” manager Rick Renteria said. “I think everybody was feeling it for him tonight. He’s been pushing. He fouled a ball off of his left shin the other day, and you see him kind of gimping around there. … He’s not one to do anything to deter from continuing to help the team win first and foremost, but along the way he’s able to collect some individual merit points, so to speak. And put himself in a very special class.”

The big question surrounding Abreu isn’t whether he’s worthy of being the leader the young White Sox of the future need to turn rebuilding mode into contending mode a few years down the line. The question is whether he’ll still be around by then. His final year of arbitration is 2019, meaning if the White Sox are looking at 2020 as the year of true contention, it will take a new contract to keep Abreu in town.

A few things factor into that, of course. No. 1, Abreu could continue this consistently terrific pace and be lured away by another team willing to spend more to acquire his services. No. 2, though, is his age. He’ll be 33 years old when the 2020 season starts, and while that’s not old by most standards, it means he’ll demand a big contract — and likely a lengthy one — as he reaches the latter part of his prime. It’s not to suggest Abreu will dramatically slow down in terms of production, but it will most definitely be under consideration as the White Sox look to keep their window of contention open as long as possible.

For what it’s worth, Abreu is constantly thanking the White Sox organization for the opportunity to do what he’s done over the past four seasons, and he’s said how much he wants to keep playing for this franchise.

What is of no question, however, is Abreu’s worth as a top-of-the-line offensive player. His totals with a week’s worth of games left in the 2017 season: 31 homers, 100 RBIs and a .305/.356/.551 slash line. All those percentages would be his highest since his outstanding rookie season in 2014.

And his worth as a leader, as a guy who could be a rallying point for all these young players, that’s pretty darn valuable, too.

“I haven’t (tonight) made light of what I believe he’s becoming as part of this organization and what he is as far as what he does for the team,” Renteria said. “You got a couple of young men in there that are growing up and becoming a part of what I believe are leaders within that clubhouse. And he’s one of them. He’s certainly deserves it. He’s earned it. He’s worked for it. He’s been in this organization since the inception of his major league career. He’s someone that we all are happy is a part of us.”

With tougher games awaiting, Fire miss opportunity to gain ground in standings

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USA TODAY

With tougher games awaiting, Fire miss opportunity to gain ground in standings

Saturday got off to a good start for the Fire with New York City FC drawing at home, but the Fire were unable to gain ground in the race for second place in the Eastern Conference.

Not only did the Fire fail to gain ground, they lost ground. Philadelphia smashed the Fire 3-1 on Saturday at Talen Energy Stadium, leaving the Fire four points behind NYCFC for second and vulnerable to the chasing pack. Atlanta can pass the Fire for third place with a win against Montreal on Sunday, and still would have a game in hand.

Things don’t get any easier for the Fire with a trip at San Jose coming up on Wednesday. The Earthquakes are in the thick of the playoff race in the Western Conference and have one home loss this season.

While Philadelphia has won a majority of its home matches this season, it was the easiest of the three remaining road games on the Fire’s schedule. In addition to the trip to San Jose, the Fire close the regular season at Houston, another team in the playoff hunt that has just one home loss this year.

So Saturday wasn’t such a good day for the Fire.

The game marked the first start for defender Joao Meira since Aug. 16, but midfielders Bastian Schweinsteiger and Juninho missed once again. This was the third straight game Schweinsteiger missed and two straight for Juninho.

Philadelphia took the lead on a Chris Pontius header in the 10th minute and added goals in the second half by Pontius and C.J. Sapong to secure a three-goal lead. Luis Solignac, who came off the bench to replace David Accam in the 60th minute, provided the Fire with a consolation goal, but there wasn’t another to make things interesting in the final minutes.

With four games left in the regular season, the Fire have a pair of tricky games coming up with that trip to San Jose before a big one at home against NYCFC.