Pistorius statement disputes he committed murder
PRETORIA, South Africa (AP) — A statement from the family of Oscar Pistorius and his management says they dispute the claim that he murdered his girlfriend "in the strongest terms."
The statement was issued Friday after the double-amputee Olympian wept in court when prosecutors said they would pursue a charge of premeditated murder against him for the Valentine's Day killing of his girlfriend, Reeva Steenkamp.
The statement, issued from London, said: "The alleged murder is disputed in the strongest terms." It also said that Pistorius "would like to send his deepest sympathies to the family of Reeva."
Pistorius will be held in a police station in South Africa's capital, Pretoria, until Tuesday, when he appears again for a bail hearing.
UNDATED (AP) — The Miami Heat are in the process of convincing the Oklahoma City Thunder their victory in the NBA Finals last year was no fluke. The Heat beat the Thunder for the sixth straight time, 110-100 behind another eye-popping performance by LeBron James.
The King had 39 points, 12 rebounds and seven assists. It's the eighth straight game James has scored at least 30. He had his streak of scoring at least 30 points while shooting at least 60 percent end as he missed a couple shots near the end to wind of 14 of 24 for the game, or 58 percent. Chris Bosh added 20 points and 12 boards.
Kevin Durant had 40 points and eight rebounds for Oklahoma City.
In the final game before the NBA All-Star break, the L.A. Clippers mauled the Lakers 125-101. Chris Paul's 24 led five Clipper starters in double figures. Paul also dished out 13 assists. The Lakers go into the All-Star break three and a-half games out of the final playoff berth in the West.
Wildcats fall to Buffs...Late run boosts the Buckeyes
UNDATED (AP) — Colorado avenged a bitter overtime loss at Arizona with a 71-58 rout of the ninth-ranked Wildcats. Spencer Dinwiddie scored 21 points and freshman Xavier Johnson added a season-high 19.
Unlike last month's game in Tucson, there was no controversy at the end of regulation — just Colorado fans storming the court in celebration.
On Jan. 3, the Buffaloes' apparent game-winning 3-pointer was waved off at the end of regulation even though replays showed the shot was taken in time.
In other AP Top-25 hoops:
— Fifth-ranked Gonzaga topped Saint Mary's 69-54. Gary Bell Jr. led the 'Zags with 20. Gonzaga improved to 24-2. Kevin Pangos added 18 points and Kelly Olynyk (oh-LYN'-nihk) scored 17 for the Bulldogs.
— Russ Smith scored 21 second-half points, including 12 straight over a 3:03 stretch that put No. 12 Louisville ahead for good and helped the Cardinals beat St. John's 72-58.
— Deshaun Thomas scored 22 points and 13th-ranked Ohio State used a late 12-0 run to beat Northwestern 69-59 for the Buckeyes' 32nd consecutive home win against the Wildcats. Lenzelle Smith Jr. added 12 points — all in the first half.
— Andre Hollins hit the go-ahead 3-pointer midway through overtime to finish with 21 points and lead Minnesota to a 58-53 victory over No. 20 Wisconsin. It's the third straight game Wisconsin went to overtime.
Report: Jerry Buss hospitalized with cancer
LOS ANGELES (AP) — The Los Angeles Times reports that Lakers owner Jerry Buss has been hospitalized with cancer.
The Times says the 79-year-old Buss has spent time in the intensive care unit at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center and that several current and former Lakers players, including Kobe Bryant and Magic Johnson, have visited him. Spokesmen for Buss and the Lakers declined comment.
Buss has been hospitalized several times in recent years. He was hospitalized last July for treatment of dehydration. He was treated for blood clots in his legs in December 2011.
Isles end Garden drought
UNDATED (AP) — John Tavares scored one of the New York Islanders' three-second period goals and then netted the shootout winner as the Islanders broke a five-game losing streak with a 4-3 victory over the New York Rangers.
Tavares followed Frans Nielsen's goal in the opening round of the tiebreaker with one of his own. Evgeni Nabokov (nah-BAH'-kahv) stopped Marian Gaborik and Rick Nash to give the Islanders the elusive win. They had dropped eight straight at Madison Square Garden, including a loss there last week.
In other NHL action:
— Rene Bourque (bork) scored the lone goal as the Montreal Canadiens continued their perfect swing through Florida with a 1-0 overtime win over the Panthers. Two nights ago, the Habs beat Tampa Bay in a shootout. Carey Price made 26 saves for his 17th career shutout and second against the Panthers.
— Eric Fehr (feer) scored two goals, Mathieu Perreault (peh-ROH') had three assists, and the Washington Capitals won their third straight game by beating the Tampa Bay Lightning 4-3.
— Joe Corvo had a goal and an assist and the Carolina Hurricanes won their third consecutive game, a 3-1 victory over the Toronto Maple Leafs.
— Pekka Rinne (PEH'-kuh RIH'-nuh) made 19 saves for his second consecutive shutout, leading the Nashville Predators to a 3-0 victory over Phoenix.
— Milan Hejduk (HAY'-dook) and Matt Duchene (doo-SHAYN') scored in the shootout and the Colorado Avalanche beat the Minnesota Wild 4-3.
Pujols taking it easy...New contracts for GM and manager
UNDATED (AP) — Los Angeles Angels slugger Albert Pujols (POO'-hohlz) hopes to begin agility drills and light running in a couple of days to test his surgically repaired right knee.
Pujols underwent arthroscopic surgery on the knee in October in what he considered a minor cleanup procedure. But Pujols says he will ease into spring training with the hopes of being fully healthy for opening day.
In other spring training news:
— The St. Louis Cardinals have agreed to a three-year contract extension with general manager John Mozeliak (MOHZ'-lee-ak) and exercised the 2014 option for manager Mike Matheny (muh-THEE'-nee). With Mozeliak in charge, the Cardinals have advanced to the postseason three times and averaged 88 wins per season in five seasons. Matheny replaced Tony La Russa before last season and almost took the Cards to another World Series.
— Oakland Athletics closer Grant Balfour faces arthroscopic surgery on his right knee. He is suffering from a torn meniscus. The A's say the right-hander is expected to miss four to six weeks, and that he had decided to have the procedure now with the hopes of returning for the start of the season. The 35-year-old Balfour went 3-2 with a 2.53 ERA and 24 saves last season for the AL West champions.
— The Minnesota Twins have signed left-hander Rafael Perez to a minor league contract with an invite to major league camp. Perez pitched just 7 2-3 innings out of the bullpen for the Cleveland Indians last season because of shoulder problems. He had surgery to remove a spur in his shoulder in September and started throwing for scouts earlier this week.
— The Colorado Rockies acquired infielder Reid Brignac (BRIHN'-yak) from the Tampa Bay Rays in exchange for a player to be named later and cash considerations.
— Red Sox president Larry Lucchino (loo-KEE'-noh) says he thinks the team's sellout streak at Fenway Park will end in April, a month shy of 10 years of a packed ballpark. Lucchino says the 793-game streak which began May 15, 2003, could be snapped possibly as early as the second game of the season — April 10th against the Orioles.
Eagles make a move at QB...Bills cut McGee
UNDATED (AP) — The Philadelphia Eagles have agreed on a two-year contract with quarterback Dennis Dixon, who spent the past season with the Super Bowl-champion Baltimore Ravens on their practice squad.
The move comes three days after the Eagles restructured Michael Vick's contract, bringing him back to compete with Nick Foles for the starting job. The 28-year-old Dixon had a standout career at Oregon when Chip Kelly was Ducks offensive coordinator. Kelly replaced Andy Reid as Eagles coach after leading Oregon to a 46-7 mark the past four years.
In other NFL news:
— The Buffalo Bills are continuing their purge of veteran defensive players by releasing oft-injured cornerback Terrence McGee. Having spent 10 seasons in Buffalo, McGee was among the Bills' longest-serving active players.
— Washington Redskins general manager Bruce Allen says the team isn't considering a new nickname, adding that it's "ludicrous" to suggest the franchise is trying to upset Native Americans. Allen says there's "nothing that we feel is offensive, and we're proud of our history." Opposition to "Redskins" has gained momentum following last week's symposium at the Smithsonian that was heavily critical of the use of the word.
Kuchar tames storied Riviera
LOS ANGELES (AP) — Matt Kuchar (KOO'-chur) opened with three straight birdies and finished with back-to-back birdies at storied Riviera Country Club, holing a 25-foot putt on the 18th hole for a 7-under 64 that gave him the first-round lead in the Northern Trust Open. Sergio Garcia is one shot back.
Brandt Jobe, returning from a serious neck injury last summer, is two shots back.
U.S. takes sides with Russia and Iran
UNDATED (AP) — USA Wrestling is joining with the national wrestling federations from Russia, Iran and Japan to fight the elimination the sport from the Olympics. USA Wrestling executive director Rich Bender tells The Associated Press that the group's aim will be to lead efforts to restore wrestling to the Olympic program. World and Olympic champions Bruce Baumgartner, John Smith, Rulon (ROO'-lon) Gardner and Dan Gable and two-time Olympians Kerry McCoy and Clarissa Chun will also take part.