Without Duncan, Parker, Ginobili, Spurs still win


Without Duncan, Parker, Ginobili, Spurs still win

From Comcast SportsNetCHICAGO (AP) -- Tim Duncan was dressed in street clothes, with Tony Parker and Manu Ginobili joining him on the bench. San Antonio's three biggest stars got up occasionally to cheer on their teammates, but that was the extent of their contribution on Monday.On this night, the NBA-best Spurs did just fine without them.Kawhi Leonard had a career-high 26 points and Danny Green scored 18, leading short-handed San Antonio to an impressive 103-89 victory against the Chicago Bulls."One would hope that you could play with anybody in your system, but it was a tough challenge for them tonight," Spurs coach Gregg Popovich said. "And I couldn't be more proud of what they did."Parker, Duncan and Ginobili were all out with injuries, and swingman Stephen Jackson also missed the game due to "personal business," according to the team. With Duncan on the sideline, the Spurs were outrebounded 49-26, including a whopping 17-2 deficit on the offensive glass.And San Antonio still managed to win, due in large part to 19 Chicago turnovers that the Spurs turned into 29 points."The approach is still the same, you know, every game," Green said. "It starts with Pop. He does a great job of preparing us, tells us what we need to do. We listen to him."Nate Robinson scored 20 points and Richard Hamilton had 16 for the Bulls, who were coming off a 3-3 road trip -- their longest of the season. Carlos Boozer added 14 points and All-Star Joakim Noah pulled down 15 rebounds despite a nagging right foot injury."When you outrebound somebody like we did and to be in the position we were in, we beat ourselves," Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau said, lamenting all the turnovers. "They are terrific. They are going to make you pay for your mistakes."San Antonio led by 14 at three different points in the third quarter, but Robinson led the Bulls right back. The streaky point guard converted a twisting reverse layup to trim the Spurs' lead to 73-69 with 56 seconds left in the period.Chicago pulled within one in the fourth before the Spurs began to pull away. Boris Diaw had a three-point play and Leonard converted a layup in a 7-0 surge that made it 89-78 with 5:55 to go.Parker had 29 points and 11 assists in the Spurs' 111-86 victory at Brooklyn on Sunday night, but Popovich said his star's right knee became swollen during the game. Parker is having an MVP-type of season, averaging 20.7 points and 7.7 assists per game.Duncan missed his fourth straight game due to a sore left knee. Ginobili was out for the fifth consecutive game with tightness in his left hamstring."For sure it was a great win for us," said center Tiago Splitter, who had 16 points in 33 minutes despite an awkward fall in the first quarter. "We hope all the guys get better and healthy again soon and ready to help us."The injuries for All-Stars Parker and Duncan, plus key scorer Ginobili, meant San Antonio's three best players were reduced to a cheerleading role for the night, and their teammates gave them plenty of reasons to stand and applaud.Gary Neal also had 16 points for San Antonio (41-12), which improved the league's best road record to 19-10. Nando De Colo, subbing for Parker, had nine points and seven assists in his second career start.Luol Deng finished with 11 points and 11 rebounds for Chicago (30-21), which dropped to 15-12 at home this season."We didn't make shots down the stretch and we couldn't get stops for some reason," Robinson said. "They have the best record in the NBA for a reason."NOTES:Thibodeau said he thinks G Kirk Hinrich (right elbow) will travel with the team to Boston for Wednesday's game against the Celtics. Hinrich hasn't appeared in a game since Jan. 30 at Milwaukee. ... Splitter had a big bag of ice on his left ankle after the game. "It's painful right now, but we'll see tomorrow how it feels," he said. ... Deng addressed the crowd before the game and said he is looking forward to representing the Bulls at Sunday's All-Star game in Houston. ... Diaw and Splitter are the only players to appear in all 53 games for the Spurs this season.

Patriots 'steel' a win in latest edition of TB Times


Patriots 'steel' a win in latest edition of TB Times

The New England Patriots beat the Pittsburgh Steelers 27-16, and the latest edition of The TB Times was quickly distributed to the Facebook world.

This time, Tom Brady, Chris Long and Malcom Brown are spotted sneaking out of Heinz Field with a steele "W," the headline reads "Pats Steel one in Pitt."

PATRIOTS 27, STEELERS 16: Curran's Best and Worst | Troy Brown: Pittsburgh didn't capitalize on Pats' mistakes


Gostkowski: 'I stink right now...That's just the bottom line'


Gostkowski: 'I stink right now...That's just the bottom line'

Stephen Gostkowski is one of the most successful kickers in NFL history, and he's currently the higest-paid kicker in the league. He has set a certain standard for himself, and he told reporters on Sunday that he's not reaching it. 

Gostkowski spoke to members of the media after missing one of the four extra points he attempted in New England's 27-16 win over Pittsburgh. It was the second consecutive game in which Gostkowski missed a point-after try.

"I'm not happy with the way I'm playing," he said. "Mechanically, I need to be better. Just not playing good enough for this team right now. Keep my head down and keep working. I'm putting the work in. I'm trying the best I can. Need to figure out how to switch it up so I can be more consistent."

He added: "I don't really talk about reasons why I make or miss a kick. No one knows, nor cares to understand. I stink right now. That's just the bottom line. It'd be nice to be able to enjoy these wins a little more with the team. But it's not about me. The team's played great. Luckily the team keeps picking me up, I guess."

Gostkowski has now missed five kicks on the year, including field goals against the Miami, Buffalo and Cleveland.

"Obviously there's something going on and I'm gonna work my hardest to fix it," he said. "That's all I do. This is my job, I take it seriously. No one feels worse about screwing up than I do. It stinks to come in when you win and that's all you talk about is the one bad play you had. But that's the nature of the position. You deal with it . . .

"I've always held my head high, and I will always go out there with confidence, no matter if I miss 100 in a row so that's just the way I'm put together. I'm gonna keep working hard to do the best. Talk about a few feet here or there, we're not having the conversation. Just gotta tighten it up and be more consistent."

Gostkowski was asked if he was at a point with his confidence where he still wanted to take crucial kicks late in games.

"I always want to help the team win," he said. "I'm not scared to screw up. I've screwed up plenty of times in my career. Just kind of piling on right now. At my position, you only get so many opportunities. That's part of it mentally is taking advantage of the opportunities you get. I know that's the deal coming in. It's not like a news flash. This is my eleventh year doing it. Right now I just stink, and I need to figure out how to get better. It's just not working out. Kind of piling on, but I'm gonna hold my head high, keep working hard, keep doing the best I can as long as I keep getting the opportunities."

Gostkowski did not get into any of the mechanical issues he might be dealing with, and he did not explain whether or not he sees a kicking coach to help him with his form. Though this would certainly qualify as one of the most difficult stretches of his professional career -- if not the most difficult -- he said he's dealt with bad spurts of play in the past, and he's hoping to come out of this one soon.

"Being a professional athlete is tough," he said. "When you're doing good or you're doing bad. A position like mine, there's no hiding when you screw up. It's just part of it. You gotta learn to roll with the punches. I've seen guys that have been really good have tough stretches, and I've seen guys come out of them. I mean, I've played bad before. You play long enough, you're going to have stuff like this. Just timing-wise it just kind of stinks. If there was one thing to point to to fix it I would've done it by now. But I need to be better."