NFL divisional round concludes in Foxborough and New Orleans
UNDATED (AP) — The AFC and NFC championship game matchups will be set in a few hours.
The New England Patriots are hosting the Los Angeles Chargers in the AFC divisional playoffs, with the winner taking on the Chiefs in Kansas City next Sunday. The game features the oldest matchup of quarterbacks in an NFL playoff game, with 41-year-old Tom Brady leading his Patriots against the 37-year-old Philip Rivers and the Chargers. Brady is 7-0 as a starter against Rivers.
The Chargers posted the better record during the regular season at 12-4, but they entered the playoffs as a wild-card team after finishing second to the Chiefs. The Patriots captured the AFC East at 11-5 and are seeking their eighth consecutive trip to the conference championship game.
The Chargers are facing a Patriots team that is 8-0 in Gillette Stadium this season. But Los Angeles is 8-1 on the road, with its lone blemish coming against the crosstown Rams.
The Chargers earned the right to take on New England by downing the Ravens, 23-17 at Baltimore last Sunday.
The NFC divisional game has the defending Super Bowl champs against the NFC’s No. 1 seed as the New Orleans Saints host the Philadelphia Eagles. The Saints reeled off a 10-game winning streak en route to a 13-3 mark and a first-round bye. Conversely, the Eagles lost six of their first 10 games and needed a loss by the Minnesota Vikings to make the playoffs on the final weekend of the regular season.
Philadelphia advanced with a 16-15 win at Chicago behind quarterback Nick Foles, last year’s Super Bowl MVP.
Moment of silence for daughter of Chargers’ Brandon Mebane
FOXBOROUGH, Mass. (AP) — The daughter of Chargers defensive lineman Brandon Mebane was remembered before Los Angeles’ playoff game against the New England Patriots.
The Patriots asked fans to stand and observe a moment of silence for Makenna Mebane, who died on Jan. 3 at the age of 7 weeks. She was born with a rare genetic condition known as Trisomy 13 that causes delays in development and affects several organs.
Brandon Mebane had missed five of the past seven games, including last week’s wild-card game at Baltimore, to be with his family. He was active for Sunday’s divisional playoff round game at New England.
Former Dolphins guard Bob Kuechenberg dies at age 71
MIAMI (AP) — Miami Dolphins guard Bob Kuechenberg, a six-time Pro Bowl selection and member of the only team to achieve a perfect season, has died at age 71.
His death Saturday was confirmed by the Dolphins, who had no immediate details.
Kuechenberg spent his entire NFL career with the Dolphins from 1970 to 1983. He started every game for the team that went 17-0 in 1972, and started 16 games for the team that repeated as Super Bowl champions in 1973.
A native of Gary, Indiana, Kuechenberg played at Notre Dame before being drafted by the Philadelphia Eagles in 1969. He never played for Philadelphia and signed with the Dolphins as a free agent the next season, coach Don Shula’s first year with the team.
Atlantic’s finest tip off NBA slate
UNDATED (AP) — Today’s NBA slate begins in New York and Washington as a pair of struggling teams take on the top squads in the Atlantic Division.
The Wizards put their two-game winning streak on the line against the Raptors, who own the league’s top record at 32-12. Toronto has won four in a row and comes off Friday’s 122-105 rout of the Nets.
Though the Wizards are 18-25, they are 13-7 at home and come off an impressive 113-106 victory over the Central Division-leading Bucks.
The 76ers are at Madison Square Garden against the Knicks, who have compiled the NBA’s worst home record at 4-13. The Knicks have dropped 11 of their last 12 overall, but the Sixers are trying to shake a two-game skid that has dropped then 4 ½ games behind the Atlantic-leading Raptors.
Also on today’s NBA slate:
— The Bucks will try to bounce back from Friday’s loss at Washington when they visit the Hawks. Milwaukee leads the Central by 1 1/2 games over the Pacers.
— The Rockets are in Orlando to take on the Magic. Houston has won 13 of its last 16 to move a half-game ahead of second-place San Antonio in the Southwest Division.
— The Mavericks host the Golden State Warriors, who were 146-109 winners over the Bulls on Friday. The Warriors pace the Pacific Division at 28-14, but the Mavericks have won two straight and are 16-4 at home.
— The Western Conference leaders are in action as the Denver Nuggets host Portland. The Nuggets are 28-13 overall and have won 11 consecutive home games, but they come off last night’s embarrassing loss at Phoenix.
— Cleveland takes its 12-game losing streak into Los Angeles against the Lakers, who are 3-6 since LeBron James strained a groin in a Christmas Day win at Golden State. James is expected to miss at least two more games.
Michigan, Michigan St. in action
UNDATED (AP) — The nation’s No. 2 and No. 6 basketball teams are in action today, and both hail from Michigan.
The second-ranked Michigan Wolverines put their unbeaten start on the line against Northwestern after sixth-ranked Michigan State finishes its game at Penn State.
The Wolverines and Virginia are the lone unbeaten teams in Division One men’s basketball, sporting a record of 16-0. Michigan comes off Thursday’s 79-69 victory at Illinois.
The Spartans are 14-2 and owners of a nine-game winning streak since a loss to Louisville on Nov. 27.
Canes and Preds open NHL slate
UNDATED (AP) — The surging Carolina Hurricanes host the Nashville Predators in the first game on today’s NHL schedule.
The Hurricanes have won six of seven to move back into the Eastern Conference playoff race. They come off a 4-3 win over Buffalo as Sebastien Aho (AH’-hoh) contributed two goals to Friday’s victory.
The Predators begin the day in a first-place tie with Winnipeg in the Central Division, although the Jets have two games in hand. The Predators have points in their last five games, compiling a 3-0-2 record that includes a 4-3 overtime loss at Columbus on Friday.
The rest of the NHL slate has the Rangers at Columbus, the Jets hosting the Ducks, the Canucks entertaining the Panthers, the Lightning at the Islanders and the Coyotes visiting the Flames. The Ducks are trying to shake a 10-game losing streak.
Kuchar trying to close out victory
HONOLULU (AP) — Matt Kuchar (KOO’-chur) carries a two-stroke lead into the final round of the PGA’s Sony Open.
Kuchar followed a pair of 63s with a 4-under 66 yesterday for an 18-under total at Waialae Country Club in Honolulu. Andrew Putnam is alone in second, two ahead of Keith Mitchell and Chez Reavie.
BRADLEY CENTER DEMOLITION
Explosions bring down roof of Milwaukee Bucks’ former home
(Information in the following story is from: Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, http://www.jsonline.com)
MILWAUKEE (AP) — Dozens of small, simultaneous explosions have brought down the steel roof of the Bradley Center, the former home of the Milwaukee Bucks.
The controlled demolition Sunday morning left debris scattered in the street.
The Bradley Center closed last summer and the Bucks moved next door to the $524 million Fiserv Forum. The NBA team bid the 30-year-old arena a fond farewell in a series of tweets.
The aim of the explosions was to collapse the roof into the seating bowl, making it easier for workers to remove the debris. The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reports that while some debris soared into the air, the bulk of the structure collapsed into the old arena’s structure as planned.