FLOWERY BRANCH, Ga. - Matt Ryan insists that he's not approaching the NFC title game as a personal arms race against Aaron Rodgers. With Rodgers on the other side, the Atlanta Falcons can't get enough points from Ryan and the league's highest-scoring offense. As hot as Rodgers has been in recent weeks - he's thrown for 21 TD passes with just one pick during Green Bay's eight-game winning streak - Ryan has sizzled similarly.
The NBA changed the format for All-Star voting this year. Instead of leaving it all up to the fans, votes from players and select media members were also counted. The Warriors' Zaza Pachulia would've been named a starter. His fans really love voting for him. Earlier this month, Green said his teammate should be mad the format changed.
Benny Parsons was inducted into the NASCAR Hall of Fame on Friday night and his widow vowed to donate his commemorative ring to his official display in the hall. Parsons was introduced by 2012 champion Brad Keselowski, a fellow Michigan native who grew up respecting Parsons' career. He's from Detroit, and he came from being a Michigan taxi driver to a NASCAR champion, Keselowski said. Parsons was officially inducted by Hall of Famer Dale Jarrett, and it was accepted by his widow, Terri.
CLOSE USA Today Sports' Lorenzo Reyes makes his picks for this weekend's AFC and NFC Championship games. All the money Kansas City Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce is giving up in fines sure could buy a lot of shoes. According to multiple reports, Cheffers will be the referee for Super Bowl LI next month in Houston. The other $9,115 fine for Kelce was the result of his inexplicable decision to deck Steelers defensive back Ross Cockrell after a play.
The conference did not identify the specific players suspended and said officials would have no further comment beyond the statement. The seven suspended LeMoyne-Owen players will serve their suspensions in accordance with conference guidelines, Anderson said. The conference said that three athletes were suspended five games each because they left the bench and were involved in the fight. Two other players received three-game suspensions for their actions, and 10 players who left the bench were issued a minimum two-game suspension.
Russell Westbrook of the Oklahoma City Thunder is averaging a triple-double and is the prohibitive favorite to be named the NBA's most valuable player, but he will not be starting in the All-Star Game. The reaction among players and some fans was swift, with many expressing disbelief that Westbrook's season was not enough to secure a starting spot. Dude averaging a triple double and not starting in the all star game is wild, Chandler Parsons, a forward for the Memphis Grizzlies, wrote on Twitter.
Kyrie Irving spent a day dedicated to transition and big speeches by delivering a message from the heart. To kick off a program promoting physical fitness, Irving shared some wisdom and experiences he hopes will help motivate kids to reach their potential. He urged them to listen to their parents, follow their own path and reminded them that life's journey never ends. As the nation looked toward Washington, DC, Irving simply wanted to make a positive impact on some kinds in Cleveland.
Helio Castroneves walked through the doors beaming, laughing like a kid as he took his seat in a room full of reporters. One day earlier, Castroneves' doctor told him he has the body of a 19-year-old kid. Castroneves, the only active driver with three Indianapolis 500 wins, hardly seems to be slowing down when it comes to his IndyCar career. 'When I was a kid, that's what I wanted to do, Castroneves said.
Inside the NBA had an eventful night on Thursday when Randy Moss dropped by to be a guest on Kevin Garnett's show, Area 21. The crew talked to Moss about basketball, and they tossed around a football. At one point, Moss threw a pass to Charles Barkley, and then Shaq immediately knocked Chuck to the ground. This isn't the first time Shaq has taken Chuck down. Shaq then knocked Kenny Smith to the floor too because why not.
The NBA has fined Sidney Lowe $5,000 and the Wizards organization $15,000 after the assistant coach was standing on the court during the New York Knicks' final possession of a game. The league says Friday that Lowe was potentially impacting game action by standing on the court as the Knicks had the ball. Lee ended up passing to Brandon Jennings, but John Wall stole the ball from him to preserve the Wizards' 113-110 victory on Thursday.
Right-hander Trevor Cahill and the San Diego Padres have finalized a $1.75 million, one-year contract. He went 4-4 with a 2.74 ERA in 50 games, including one start, for the Chicago Cubs in 2016. He was a AL All-Star in 2010 with the Oakland Athletics. To create room on the 40-man roster Friday, outfielder Jabari Blash was designated for assignment by the Padres. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
The NBA has fined Sidney Lowe $5,000 and the Wizards organization $15,000 after the assistant coach was standing on the court during the New York Knicks' final possession of a game. The league says Friday that Lowe was potentially impacting game action by standing on the court as the Knicks had the ball.