In Brief


NBA buying Hornets is best bet
for Louisiana to keep franchise

The NBA’s decision to buy the New Orleans Hornets gives Louisiana the best opportunity to hold onto the franchise that moved there in 2002, league commissioner David Stern said Monday.

Stern confirmed that the league is proceeding with a plan to buy the club from majority owner George Shinn and minority partner Gary Chouest, making the Hornets the first NBA-owned team.

Shinn has been trying since last spring to sell the team to Chouest, but those negotiations had stalled, and Stern said Shinn’s urgency to sell his shares was increasing because he was accumulating debt at a rate he could not sustain.

If the NBA had done nothing, Stern said, Shinn may have been inclined to take the next good offer he got, even if it came from a buyer that planned to move the team.

Also: Center Andrew Bynum participated in his first full practice with the Los Angeles Lakers since offseason knee surgery.

Bynum isn’t sure when he’ll return to the Lakers’ starting lineup, but he intends to play in December. He reported no swelling or soreness after scrimmaging with his teammates at the Lakers’ training complex in El Segundo, Calif.

The NBA suspended Los Angeles Clippers forward Brian Cook for two games and Trail Blazers guard Andre Miller for one after a rough conclusion to Portland’s 100-91 victory Sunday.

Cook was whistled for a flagrant foul and ejected after shoving Joel Przybilla in the chest as Przybilla went up for a layup at the end of the third quarter. Miller was suspended for “making excessive and unnecessary contact with Blake Griffin of the Clippers” with 7:06 left in the fourth.


Woods’ resurgence generates
big ratings for World Challenge

Tigers Woods can still draw television viewers.

His playoff loss at the Chevron World Challenge drew the tournament’s highest preliminary rating for the final round in eight years.

U.S. Open champion Graeme McDowell’s comeback victory earned a 2.7 overnight rating for Sunday’s round. That’s up 170 percent from last year.

It’s the best since a 3.1 in 2002, when Padraig Harrington beat Woods by two strokes.

Also: Bernhard Langer of Germany was voted player of the year on the Champions Tour for winning five times, including back-to-back majors against the 50-and-older set.

The two-time Masters winner became the first Champions Tour member to win player of the year and lead the money list for three straight years.

Hundreds of fans have braved bitter cold temperatures to welcome Zenyatta back home to Kentucky.

Fans lined three or four deep around the outside walking ring at Keeneland as horse racing’s leading lady pranced one more time before heading off to retirement at Lane’s End Farm.

Zenyatta flew from California to Kentucky on Monday, the final trip in a career that included 19 wins in 20 races.

Santa Anita has reopened for training on its new dirt surface three weeks before its winter meet begins.

The new surface replaces the synthetic material that was installed in 2007 under a mandate of the California Horse Racing Board and removed starting in October.

The new dirt consists of 90 percent sand and 10 percent clay.

Villanova suspended freshman forward JayVaughn Pinkston for the rest of the season after he was charged with assault.

Upper Merion Township, Pa., police charged Pinkston with simple assault and harassment in November following an off-campus altercation. The top recruit had been held out of all Villanova’s games this season.

Former Marquette basketball coach Hank Raymonds died after a long battle with cancer, the school said. He was 86.

Raymonds, a former assistant coach under Al McGuire, took over as head coach after McGuire’s departure in 1977 and coached until 1983, compiling a career record of 126-50.

Connecticut remained the unanimous choice as the No. 1 team in women’s basketball.

The Huskies have won an NCAA women’s-record 86 straight games and received all 40 first-place votes in the weekly Associated Press Top 25 poll. It’s their 48th straight week atop the poll.

Longtime NHL forward Bill Guerin, unable to land a contract this season, retired after scoring 429 goals in 18 seasons with eight clubs.

Guerin spent his final 1½ seasons with the Penguins, scoring seven goals in 24 playoff games during their run to a Stanley Cup title in 2009.

A consultant employed in Australia’s bid for the 2022 World Cup believes it failed because it “played it clean.”

Australia spent $45 million on its bid but won only one of 22 votes from FIFA’s executive committee before the 2022 tournament was awarded to Qatar.

Peter Hargitay, a former aide to FIFA president Sepp Blatter, said that “the fundamental mistake we made … is that we played it clean.”

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