The Rundown for January 4, 2020

CORONAVIRUS UPDATES… The number of confirmed coronavirus cases in the U.S. has reached 20,630,543 and the nation’s death toll stands at 351,453, according to figures released last night by Johns Hopkins University… Two top U.S. health officials yesterday disputed President Trump’s claim that the numbers of reported cases and deaths in the country are overblown. Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, stressed during an appearance on ABC News’ “This Week” that “The deaths are real deaths.” Surgeon General Jerome Adams appeared on CNN’s “State of the Union” and defended the accuracy of coronavirus data published by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

TRUMP PRESSURES GEORGIA OVER VOTE… Audio from an hour-long phone call released yesterday captured President Trump asking Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger to “find” votes necessary to overturn the state’s presidential election results. Trump cited baseless claims of fraud in warning Raffensberger and his office attorney Ryan Germany that they face potential legal and political consequences. Trump insists there is “no way” he lost Georgia, which has certified President-elect Joe Biden as the winner. Raffensperger and Germany tell Trump in the recording that the data his challenge was based on “is wrong” and voting machines have not been tampered with.

FORMER PENTAGON HEADS WARN REPBULICANS… All 10 living former U.S Defense Secretaries are urging the Republican Party to stop trying to overturn the results of the 2020 election. In an editorial published yesterday in the Washington Post, the former Pentagon heads wrote that “The time for questioning the results has passed” and warn that “Efforts to involve the U.S. armed forces in resolving election disputes would take us into dangerous, unlawful and unconstitutional territory.” Both of President Trump’s defense secretaries, James Mattis and Mark Esper, signed on to the op-ed, as did former Vice President Dick Cheney.

PELOSI TO REMAIN HOUSE SPEAKER… California Democratic Congresswoman Nancy Pelosi was voted into her fourth term as House Speaker yesterday. Her victory came despite opposition from a handful of Democrats. Pelosi urged unity in her campaign to hold the position and told Democrats, “My opponent is COVID.”

PASTOR KILLED IN CHURCH SHOOTING… A shooting at a church in East Texas yesterday morning left one person dead and two others injured. The Smith County Sheriff’s office identified the fatality as the 62-year-old pastor of Starville Methodist Church. The pastor reportedly found a 21-year-old man hiding in a bathroom stall, pointed a gun at him and told him to leave. However, man captured the pastor’s gun and shot him with it, investigators say. Authorities say the man had been hiding in the woods behind the church following a police pursuit the night before.

… Playboi Carti’s “Whole Lotta Red” sold 100,000 copies to debut atop the Billboard 200 album chart. Taylor Swift’s “Evermore” slid into second place after selling 71,000 units. Lil Durk’s “The Voice” jumped into third place on sales of 66,000 copies. Pop Smoke’s “Shoot for the Stars Aim for the Moon” finished fourth with 46,000 units sold. Ariana Grande’s “Positions” sold 38,000 copies to cap the top five.

ACTRESS TANYA ROBERTS DIES… Actress Tanya Roberts, who was best known as a Bond girl and for her work on “That ’70s Show,” died yesterday after a brief hospitalization. She was 65. Roberts, who was born Victoria Leigh Blum, began her career as a model before breaking into film with the 1975 horror flick “Forced Entry.” Her big break came when she landed the role of Stacey Sutton in the 1985 James Bond film “A View to a Kill,” opposite Roger Moore.

SINGER GERRY MARSDEN DIES… Gerry Marsden, lead singer of the 1960s British rock band Gerry and the Pacemakers, has died of a heart infection, friends confirmed yesterday. He was 78. Marsden was was known for his cover of the song “You’ll Never Walk Alone” from the musical “Carousel.” His other hits included “Ferry Cross the Mersey” and “Don’t Let the Sun Catch You Crying.”

… The NFL postseason is set following yesterday’s regular-season finales. In the AFC, the Titans claimed the South division title while the Ravens, Browns and Colts all clinched playoff spots. The Bills locked down the conference’s No. 2 seed, with the Steelers sliding into the third spot. In the NFC, the Packers secured the top seed with a first-round bye, the Saints claimed the second seed and the Buccaneers locked themselves into the No. 5 seed. Washington captured the East division title, while the Rams and Bears clinched playoff spots.

No. 1 seed: Kansas City
No. 2 seed: Buffalo
No. 3 seed: Pittsburgh
No. 4 seed: Tennessee
No. 5 seed: Baltimore
No. 6 seed: Cleveland
No. 7 seed: Indianapolis

Indianapolis is at Buffalo – Saturday, 1:05 p.m. ET
Tennessee hosts Baltimore – Sunday, 1:05 p.m. ET
Cleveland is at Pittsburgh – Sunday, 8:15 p.m. ET

No. 1 seed: Green Bay
No. 2 seed: New Orleans
No. 3 seed: Seattle
No. 4 seed: Washington
No. 5 seed: Tampa Bay
No. 6 seed: L.A. Rams
No. 7 seed: Chicago

L.A. Rams are at Seattle – Saturday, 4:40 p.m. ET
Washington hosts Tampa Bay – Saturday, 8:15 p.m. ET
Chicago is at New Orleans – Sunday, 4:40 p.m. ET

Tennessee 41 – HOUSTON 38… Sam Sloman’s 37-yard field goal on the game’s final play sent the Titans (11-5) past the Texans (4-12). Derrick Henry ran for 250 yards and two touchdowns. He has surpassed 2,000 rushing yards on the season.

Baltimore 38 – CINCINNATI 3… The Ravens (11-5) set a franchise record with 404 rushing yards in routing the Bengals (4-11-1) and punching their ticket into the postseason. J.K. Dobbins rushed for 160 yards and two touchdowns. Lamar Jackson hit Marquise Brown with two of his three scoring passes.

CLEVELAND 24 – Pittsburgh 22… The Browns (11-5) held off the Steelers (12-4) and are heading to the playoffs for the first time since 2002. Nick Chubb ran 47 yards for a first-quarter touchdown.

INDIANAPOLIS 28 – Jacksonville 14… Jonathan Taylor ran for a franchise-record 253 yards and scored two touchdowns as the Colts (11-5) doubled up on the Jaguars (1-15).

BUFFALO 56 – Miami 26… The Bills (13-3) rolled past the Dolphins (10-6) and bounced them from the playoffs. Isaiah McKenzie caught two of Josh Allen’s three touchdown passes in the second quarter and returned a punt 84 yards for a touchdown.

Green Bay 35 – CHICAGO 16… Aaron Rodgers threw four touchdown passes to finish with a team-record 48 on the regular season and the Packers (13-3) handled the playoff-bound Bears (8-8).

New Orleans 33 – CAROLINA 7… The Saints (12-4) took advantage of five interceptions to breeze past the Panthers (5-11). Drew Brees threw touchdown passes to three different receivers. Ty Montgomery rushed for 105 yards.

TAMPA BAY 44 – Atlanta 27… Antonio Brown caught two of Tom Brady’s four touchdown passes and the playoff-bound Buccaneers (11-5) put away the Falcons (4-12).

Washington 20 – PHILADELPHIA 14… Alex Smith threw for a pair of scores as Washington (7-9) fought off the Eagles (4-11-1).

L.A. RAMS 18 – Arizona 7… The Rams (10-6) rode their defense to a win over the Cardinals (8-8). Troy Hill returned an interception 84 yards for a touchdown. John Wolford passed for 231 yards and rushed for 56 more in his NFL debut.

Seattle 26 – SAN FRANCISCO 23… Russell Wilson found Tyler Lockett with two fourth-quarter touchdown passes as the Seahawks (12-4) came from behind to top the 49ers (6-10).

Minnesota 37 – DETROIT 35… Kirk Cousins passed for 405 yards and hit three difference receivers with touchdown passes as the Vikings (7-9) fought off the Lions (5-11).

NEW ENGLAND 28 – N.Y. Jets 14… Cam Newton threw for three touchdowns and caught a scoring pass in leading the Patriots (7-9) past the Jets (2-14).

N.Y. GIANTS 23 – Dallas 19… Daniel Jones threw a pair of second-quarter touchdown passes as the Giants (6-10) topped the Cowboys (6-10).

Las Vegas 32 – DENVER 31… Derek Carr’s pass to Darren Waller converted a two-point conversion with 24 seconds remaining and lifted the Raiders (8-8) over the Broncos (5-11).

L.A. Chargers 38 – KANSAS CITY 21… The Chargers (7-9) cruised past a Chiefs (14-2) team that was resting its starters for the playoffs. Justin Herbert passed for 302 yards and three touchdowns.

Boston 122 – DETROIT 120
… Jayson Tatum knocked down a fallaway jumper with 2.9 seconds left as the Celtics held off the Pistons. Tatum finished with 21 points. Jayson Brown led all scorers with 31 points.

Washington 123 – BROOKLYN 122… The Wizards got a go-ahead dunk from Thomas Bryant with 14.9 seconds left and held on to edge the Nets. Bradley Beal had 27 points and 10 rebounds. Russell Westbrook scored 24 points and dished off 10 assists. Thomas Bryant totaled 21 points and 14 boards.

L.A. Lakers 108 – MEMPHIS 94… The Lakers shook off a rough start to blow past the Grizzlies. LeBron James scored 22 points and grabbed 13 rebounds.

Denver 124 – MINNESOTA 109… The Nuggets used a 41-point fourth quarter to put away the Timberwolves. Jamal Murray pumped in a season-high 36 points. Nikola Jokic racked up 19 points, 12 boards and 12 assists.

Utah 130 – SAN ANTONIO 109… The Jazz jumped out to an early double-digit lead and never looked back in their thrashing of the Spurs. Bojan Bogdanovic scored a game-high 28 points. Donovan Mitchell tossed in 22 points.

CHICAGO 118 – Dallas 108… Zach LaVine poured in 39 points, Coby White scored 21 of his 23 points in the second half and the Bulls got past the Mavericks.

L.A. Clippers 112 – PHOENIX 107… The Clippers built a 20-point halftime lead and held on to top the Suns. Paul George led the way with 39 points.

GOLDEN STATE 137 – Portland 122… Stephan Curry erupted to score a career-high 62 points as the Warriors outshot the Trail Blazers. Andrew Wiggins added 21 points.

Cleveland is at Orlando…
Philadelphia hosts Charlotte…
New York is at Atlanta…
Miami hosts Oklahoma City…
Boston is at Toronto…
Houston hosts Dallas…
Detroit is at Milwaukee…
New Orleans hosts Indiana…
Sacramento is at Golden State

No. 5 Houston 74, SMU 60…
No. 16 MICHIGAN 85, No. 19 Northwestern 66…
No. 21 MINNESOTA 77, No. 25 Ohio State 60

The Rundown for December 31, 2020

CORONAVIRUS UPDATES… The number of confirmed coronavirus cases in the U.S. has reached 19,968,087 and the nation’s death toll stands at 345,737, according to figures released last night by Johns Hopkins University… The nearly 3,750 deaths on Wednesday set a new record for the second straight day. The average of about 2,500 deaths per day in December doubled November’s death rate… The Florida Department of Health yesterday announced the first identified case of a variant of the COVID-19 first discovered in the United Kingdom. The discovery in Florida’s Martin County follows the detection of the virus in Colorado and California earlier this week.

WORKER FIRED, ARRESTED FOR DESTROYING VACCINE… A Wisconsin hospital employee has been fired and arrested for allegedly destroying more than 500 doses of the COVID-19 vaccine. The incident took place at the Aurora Medical Center in Grafton, Wisconsin, north of Milwaukee. A total of 57 vials of Moderna’s COVID-19 vaccine — which is required to be stored between 36 and 46 degrees Fahrenheit — were left out overnight on Saturday. Officials say the worker “acknowledged that they intentionally removed the vaccine from refrigeration.” Local authorities, the FBI and the Food and Drug Administration have joined in an investigation.

TRUMP EXTENDS BANS ON VISAS… President Trump yesterday extended his bans on green cards and several types of work visas amid the coronavirus pandemic. Trump imposed bans on new green cards and certain visas in April and June, claiming they would protect American workers during the pandemic. The bans were set to expire yesterday but will remain in place through March 31. President-elect Joe Biden, who has criticized the measures, could opt to reverse the extension when he takes office January 20.

TOXIN IN RECALLED DOG FOOD BLAMED FOR 28 DOG DEATHS… Dangerous levels of aflatoxin in Sportmix products made by Midwestern Pet Foods are blamed for the deaths of at least 28 dogs. The Food and Drug Administration recalled the brand on Wednesday. The FDA said the “scope of the recall may expand as new information becomes available” during its investigation with the manufacturer and the Missouri Department of Agriculture.

SLIGHT DROP IN UNEMPLOYMENT CLAIMS… Nearly 800,000 more U.S. workers have filed new unemployment claims, according to the weekly Labor Department report released yesterday. The number of claims reflect a decrease of 19,000 from the previous week. The figure was lower than most experts predicted. The Labor Department also revised up last week’s claims by 3,000 and said the unemployment rate for the most recent week was 3.6 percent.

… A judge in Los Angeles has ruled that stalking and intimidation cases brought by four women against actor Danny Masterson must now go through mediation within the Church of Scientology. The ruling comes just days before Masterson was scheduled to be arraigned on three charges of rape between 2001 and 2003. Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge Steven Kleifield ruled that the complaints must be settled by the Church in “religious arbitration” due to an arbitration agreement that already exists among the parties. The suit filed in August 2019 claimed the plaintiffs had been stalked and intimidated by the church’s agents after reporting the allegations to police. Masterson is best known for starring in the sitcom “That 70s Show.”

FINAL McGUIRE SISTERS SISTER DIES… The last of the singing McGuire Sisters has died. Phyllis McGuire was 89 when she died Tuesday at her Las Vegas home. The group, also consisting of Christine and Dorothy McGuire, rose to fame in 1952 after winning a competition on the Arthur Godfrey’s Talent Scouts show. The sisters sold millions of records and were best known for their hits “Goodnight, Sweetheart, Goodnight,” “Sincerely,” “Sugartime” and “Picnic.” The group made multiple appearances on The Ed Sullivan Show, performed for five U.S. presidents and reunited for a comeback in 1985 where they also performed at various venues around Las Vegas and Atlantic City.


INDIANA 119 – Cleveland 99
… The Pacers built an early double-digit lead and cruised past the Cavaliers. All five starters scored in double figures led by Domantas Sabonis’ 25 points. Sabonis also grabbed 11 rebounds.

Chicago 133 – WASHINGTON 130… Otto Porter scored 28 points and Zach LaVine added 22 as the short-handed Bulls kept the Wizards winless. Seven players scored in double figures for Chicago.

Philadelphia 116 – ORLANDO 92… The hot-shooting 76ers led by as many as 37 points in the first half and never looked back in routing the Magic. Joel Embiid and Seth Curry scored 21 points apiece. Tobias Harris added 20 points.

HOUSTON 122 – Sacramento 119… James Harden came on strong at the end and finished with 33 points in leading the Rockets past the Kings. John Wall added 22 points in his first game since 2018. Christian Wood tossed in 21 points.

TORONTO 100 – New York 83… The Raptors came alive in the second half to put away the Knicks. Fred VanVleet’s 25 points led a balanced scoring attack. Kyle Lowry added 20 points.

New Orleans 113 – OKLAHOMA CITY 80… The Pelicans held the Thunder to seven fourth-quarter points in the runaway win. Brandon Ingram scored 20 points before getting ejected in the third quarter. Six other players scored in double figures.

Phoenix 106 – UTAH 95… The Suns took control with a big second quarter and held off the Jazz. Devin Booker scored a game-high 25 points.

Memphis is at Charlotte…
Detroit hosts Boston…
Miami is at Dallas…
Brooklyn hosts Atlanta…
Chicago is at Milwaukee…
Minnesota hosts Washington…
the L.A. Lakers are at San Antonio…
Denver hosts Phoenix…
the L.A. Clippers are at Utah…
Golden State hosts Portland

No. 6 WISCONSIN 71, No. 21 Minnesota 59…
No. 16 Michigan 84, MARYLAND 73…
No. 21 OREGON 82, California 69

Ball State 34, No. 22 San Jose State 13 in the Arizona Bowl…
Mississippi State 28, No. 24 Tulsa 26 in the Armed Forces Bowl…
West Virginia 24, Army 21 in the Liberty Bowl

No. 8 Cincinnati plays No. 9 Georgia in the Peach Bowl…
No. 14 Northwestern plays Auburn in the Citrus Bowl…
No. 1 Alabama plays No. 4 Notre Dame in the Rose Bowl…
No. 2 Clemson plays No. 3 Oho State in the Sugar Bowl

No. 5 Texas A&M plays No. 13 North Carolina in the Orange Bowl…
No. 10 Iowa State plays No. 25 Oregon in the Fiesta Bowl…
No. 11 Indiana plays Mississippi in the Outback Bowl…
No. 23 North Carolina State plays Kentucky in the Gator Bowl

Miami (10-5) is at Buffalo (12-3)…
Cincinnati (4-10-1) hosts Baltimore (10-5)…
Pittsburgh (12-3) is at Cleveland (10-5)…
Minnesota (6-9) is at Detroit (5-10)…
New England (6-9) hosts the N.Y. Jets (2-13)…
Dallas (6-9) is at the N.Y. Giants (5-10)…
Tampa Bay (10-5) hosts Atlanta (4-11)…
Green Bay (12-3) is at Chicago (8-7)…
Denver (5-10) hosts Las Vegas (7-8)…
Jacksonville (1-14) is at Indianapolis (10-5)…
the L.A. Chargers (6-9) are at Kansas City (14-1)…
the L.A. Rams (9-6) host Arizona (8-7)…
Seattle (11-4) is at San Francisco (6-9)…
Carolina (5-10) hosts New Orleans (11-4)…
Tennessee (10-5) is at Houston (4-11)…
Philadelphia (4-10) hosts Washington (6-9)

The Rundown for December 28, 2020

CORONAVIRUS UPDATES… The number of confirmed coronavirus cases in the U.S. has reached 19,107,675 and the nation’s death toll stands at 333,055, according to figures released last night by Johns Hopkins University… The nation’s leading infectious diseases expert, Dr. Anthony Fauci, warned yesterday of a “post-seasonal surge” of COVID-19 cases following holiday gatherings. During an appearance on CNN’s “State of the Union,” Fauci also said that “somewhere between 70 and 85 percent” of the population would need to be vaccinated against the virus in order to achieve herd immunity.

TRUMP SIGNS BILLS… President Trump last night signed a $2.3 trillion omnibus funding bill and an associated coronavirus relief bill following Saturday’s expiration of unemployment benefits expired and a government shutdown that was to begin tomorrow. The two bills are tied together and Trump did not sign them as expected on last Thursday. Instead, he called the relief bill a “disgrace” and demanded amendments that included $2,000 in direct payments to Americans. The legislation he signed includes direct payments of $600 per adult and per child. The amount per adult is half the $1,200 payments that were provided under the CARES Act enacted in March, but the amount per child is slightly larger than the $500 allowed under that law.

AUTHORITIES ID NASHVILLE BOMBING SUSPECT… Authorities in Nashville said yesterday that the man believed to be responsible for Friday’s downtown bombing in Nashville died in the explosion. The suspected bomber was identified as 63-year-old Anthony Quinn Warner. Investigators said they matched his DNA with human remains at the scene and matched a vehicle identification number to a registration associated with him. Warner reportedly acted alone in carrying out the bombing, which injured three people and damaged dozens of buildings.

SPECIAL FORCES SOLDIER CHARGED IN SHOOTINGS… Authorities yesterday announced the arrest of an active-duty Special Forces soldier who has been charged with murder after three people were killed and three wounded in a shooting Saturday at a bowling alley in Rockford, Illinois. 37-year-old Duke Webb, an assistant operations and intelligence sergeant assigned to the 3rd Battalion, 7th Special Forces Group at Eglin Air Force Base in Florida, was charged with three counts of murder and three counts of attempted murder. Webb was reportedly on leave at the time of the shootings.

HOLIDAY RETAIL SALES UP… Retail sales jumped 3 percent during this year’s expanded holiday shopping season, according to figures released yesterday by Mastercard SpendingPulse. The jump was attributed to more people buying decorations and furniture for their homes during the pandemic. The report noted online shopping sales also grew a whopping 49 percent between October 11 and December 24, accounting for 19.7 percent of total retail sales. Unsurprisingly, Black Friday was the top spending day of the season.

… Bluegrass performer Tony Rice died Friday at his Reidsville, North Carolina, home of undisclosed causes, the International Bluegrass Association confirmed yesterday. He was 69. Rice, a 2013 Bluegrass Music Hall of Fame inductee, rose to fame in the 1970s as a guitarist and vocalist in the band New South and later performed with the David Grisman Quintet.

TAYLOR SWIFT REMAINS ATOP BOX OFFICE… Taylor Swift’s “Evermore” sold 169,000 copies to top the Billboard 200 chart for a second straight week. Paul McCartney’s newest release, “McCartney III,” debuted in second place with 105,000 with units sold. Eminem’s “Music to Be Murdered By” jumped to No. 3 after selling 94,000 copies. Michael Bublé’s “Christmas” finished fourth on sales of 77,000 units. Mariah Carey’s “Merry Christmas” capped the top five with 60,000 copies sold.


KANSAS CITY 17 – Atlanta 14
… The Chiefs (14-1) fought off the Falcons (4-11) to clinch the AFC’s top seed and a first-round bye in the playoffs. Patrick Mahomes threw a go-ahead 25-yard touchdown pass to Demarcus Robinson with 1:55 remaining. Kansas City’s Travis Kelce became the first tight end to have two 100-catch seasons and set the single-season yardage record for a tight end with 1,467.

N.Y. JETS 23 – Cleveland 16… Kareem Hunt recovered a Baker Mayfield fumble with 1:16 remaining to seal the win as the Jets (2-13) stunned the Browns (10-5) and put a dent in their playoff chances. Sam Darnold threw a pair of second-quarter touchdown passes. Jamison Crowder put New York on the scoreboard in the first quarter when he took a pitch and threw 43 yards to fellow wide receiver Braxton Berrios.

PITTSBURGH 28 – Indianapolis 24… The Steelers (12-3) closed with 21 straight points to upend the Colts (10-5) and clinch the NFC North title. Ben Roethlisberger passed for 342 yards and hit three different receivers with touchdown passes.

Chicago 41 – JACKSONVILLE 17… The Bears (8-7) pulled away in the second half to hand the Jaguars (1-14) their 14th straight loss. Mitchell Trubisky found Jimmy Graham with a pair of touchdown passes and ran for a score. Allen Robinson had 10 catches for 103 yards.

BALTIMORE 27 – N.Y. Giants 13… The Ravens (10-5) scored the game’s first 17 points and cruised past the Giants (5-10). Lamar Jackson threw touchdown passes to Marquise Brown and Dez Bryant.

Cincinnati 37 – HOUSTON 31… Samaje Perine ran 3 yards for his second touchdown of the day with 1:57 left to give the Bengals (4-10-1) the lead for good in their win over the Texans (4-11). Brandon Allen threw for 371 yards and two touchdowns.

L.A. CHARGERS 19 – Denver 16… The Chargers (6-9) held off the Broncos (5-10) to win their third in a row. Michael Badgley’s fourth field goal of the game broke a tie with 41 seconds remaining. Justin Herbert’s 9-yard touchdown pass to Austin Ekeler in the second quarter was his 28th scoring toss of the season, breaking the NFL rookie record set by Cleveland’s Baker Mayfield in 2018.

Carolina 20 – WASHINGTON 3… The Panthers (5-10) took advantage of four Washington (6-9) turnovers to build a 20-3 halftime lead and held on for the victory. Their final score came on a 14 yard touchdown pass from Teddy Bridgewater to Robby Anderson.

DALLAS 37 – Philadelphia 17… Andy Dalton passed for 377 yards and found Michael Gallup with two of his three touchdown passes as the Cowboys (6-9) handled the Eagles (4-10-1) to remain in the playoff hunt. Gallup had six catches for 121 yards. Ezekiel Elliott rushed for 105 yards.

SEATTLE 20 – L.A. Rams 9… The Seahawks (11-4) downed the Rams (9-6) to claim the NFC West title. Russell Wilson ran for one touchdown and threw for another in the second half.

GREEN BAY 40 – Tennessee 14… Aaron Rodgers hit Davante Adams with three of his four touchdown passes and the Packers (12-3) crushed the Titans (10-5). Rodgers completed 21 of 25 passes for 231 yards in the snow at Lambeau. Adams finished with 11 catches for 142 yards. AJ Dillon carried 21 times for 124 yards and two scores.

Buffalo (11-3) is at New England (6-8)

Dallas 124 – L.A. CLIPPERS 73
… The Mavericks built an NBA-record 50-point halftime lead in their dismantling of the Clippers. Luka Doncic scored a game-high 24 points despite playing only 26 minutes. Josh Richardson added 21 points.

CHARLOTTE 106 – Brooklyn 104… Gordon Hayward scored 28 points to lead six players in double figures and the Hornets held off the Knicks. P.J. Washington had 14 points and 12 rebounds.

Orlando 120 – WASHINGTON 113… The Magic bombed the Wizards 43-19 in the fourth quarter for a come-from-behind win. Markelle Fultz and Terrence Ross scored 26 points apiece.

NEW ORLEANS 98 – San Antonio 95… Brandon Ingram scored 28 points and grabbed 11 boards in leading the Pelicans past the Spurs. Zion Williamson finished with 18 points and 11 rebounds.

CLEVELAND 118 – Philadelphia 94… Andre Drummond powered his way to 24 points and 14 boards as the Cavaliers rolled past the 76ers. Collin Sexton dropped in 22 points.

NEW YORK 130 – Milwaukee 110… The Knicks took control with a big second quarter and cruised past the Bucks. Julius Randle had game-highs with 29 points and 14 rebounds. Elfrid Payton tossed in 27 points.

INDIANA 108 – Boston 107… Domantas Sabonis was fouled while making a game-tying with 8.4 seconds left and converted the ensuing free throw to send the Pacers past the Celtics. Sabonis finished with 19 points and 10 rebounds. Malcolm Bogdon led Indiana with 25 points.

Golden State 129 – CHICAGO 128… Damion Lee knocked down a 3-pointer with 1.8 seconds remaining to lift the Warriors over the Bulls. Stephen Curry led Golden State with 36 points.

Phoenix 116 – SACRAMENTO 100… The Suns shook off a slow start to put away the Kings. They got 22 points from Mikal Bridges and 20 from Devin Booker. Deandre Ayton pulled down 15 boards to go with his 11 points.

L.A. LAKERS 127 – Minnesota 91… The Lakers jumped out to a 40-23 lead after the first quarter and never looked back in their romp over the Timberwolves. Kyle Kuzma pumped in 20 points before sitting out most of the second half.

Detroit is at Atlanta…
Brooklyn hosts Memphis…
Utah is at Oklahoma City…
Denver hosts Houston…
Portland is at the L.A. Lakers

The Rundown for December 25, 2020

CORONAVIRUS UPDATES… The number of confirmed coronavirus cases in the U.S. has reached 18,649,352 and the nation’s death toll stands at 329,022, according to figures released last night by Johns Hopkins University… A forecasting model by researchers at the University of Washington’s Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation now predicts there will be 567,000 deaths in the U.S. by April. They warned that deaths could surpass 5,000 per day by mid-February if governments don’t order additional restrictions… California became the first state in the nation to surpass 2 million cases, just 44 days after recording 1 million cases on November 11. The state also reported a record of 18,875 hospitalizations including another record with 3,962 patients in ICU units.

A SCALED-DOWN CHRISTMAS… 2020 leaves us with a scaled-down Christmas, as pandemic restrictions are limiting and altering normal holiday traditions. Fewer Americans are traveling to spend the holiday with family and friends and bigger churches are having to limit attendance at services. Last night’s Christmas vigil Mass in St. Peter’s Basilica was moved up a few hours to comply with Italy’s 10 p.m. curfew. Pope Francis reflected on Christmas’ significance and urged followers to reach out to the needy.

HOUSE REPUBLICANS BLOCK STIMULUS BILL PUSH… House Republicans yesterday blocked Democrats’ efforts to raise Americans’ stimulus checks to $2,000. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi launched the effort after President Trump called the previously agreed-upon $600 checks a “disgrace” but her GOP counterpart, Kevin McCarthy, denied her attempt to amend the bill by unanimous consent. Afterward, Pelosi released a statement urging Trump to rally Republican support in Monday’s full House vote. Experts say it will take at least two weeks for the Treasury to get cash into individuals’ bank accounts after any new legislation is signed.

TRUMP CAMPAIGN SUFFERS ANOTHER COURT LOSS… The Trump campaign was denied gain yesterday in its latest bid to persuade the courts to overturn his defeat in last month’s presidential election. A federal appeals court unanimously rejected Trump’s attempt to challenge President-elect Joe Biden’s victory in Wisconsin. The three-judge panel consisted of Trump appointees. Judge Michael Scudder of the Chicago-based 7th Circuit Court of Appeals said the election changes were not significant enough to run afoul of the Constitution’s provision that state legislatures determine the manner of selecting presidential electors. He also faulted Trump for challenging those provisions after the election, rather than before.

CALIFORNIA FIRE PROMPTS EVACUATIONS… A wildfire near the Camp Pendleton Marine Base in Southern California forced the evacuation of about 7,000 people last night. The fire started the night before and by yesterday morning grew to 3,050 acres with zero-percent containment. Crews are containment lines for the blaze, which officials say was fueled by steep terrain, difficult access and winds.

… Netflix announced yesterday that Season 3 of the “Karate Kid” sequel series “Cobra Kai” will debut on New Year’s Day. The streaming service had originally scheduled the debut for a week later. The half-hour, action-dramedy picks up more than 30 years after high-school rivals Daniel LaRusso (Ralph Macchio) and Johnny Lawrence (William Zabka) famously competed at the All Valley Karate Tournament. The frenemies are now senseis at their own vastly different karate schools. The show has already been renewed for a fourth season.

NEVERLAND RANCH SELLS… Michael Jackson’s Neverland Ranch in California has a new owner. Billionaire businessman Ron Burkle purchased the 2,700-acre property near Santa Barbara for $22 million. The property was listed for $100 million in 2016 then dropped to $67 million a year later. In addition to a 12,500 square-foot main residence and a 3,700 square-foot pool house, the property boasts a separate building with a 50-seat movie theater and a dance studio. Other features on the ranch are a “Disney-style” train station, a fire house and barn.


Minnesota (6-8) is at New Orleans (10-4)

Tampa Bay (9-5) is at Detroit (5-9)…
Arizona (8-6) hosts San Francisco (5-9)…
Miami (9-5) is at Las Vegas (7-7)

Atlanta (4-10) is at Kansas City (13-1)…
the N.Y. Jets (1-13) host Cleveland (10-4)…
Indianapolis (10-4) is at Pittsburgh (11-3)…
Jacksonville (1-13) hosts Chicago (7-7)…
the N.Y. Giants (5-9) are at Baltimore (9-5)…
Houston (4-10) hosts Cincinnati (3-10-1)…
Denver (5-9) is at the L.A. Chargers (5-9)…
Washington (6-8) hosts Carolina (4-20)…
Philadelphia (4-9-1) is at Dallas (5-9)…
Seattle (10-4) hosts the L.A. Rams (9-5)…
Tennessee (10-4) is at Green Bay (11-3)

Buffalo (11-3) is at New England (6-8)

Memphis 25, Florida Atlantic 10 in the Montgomery Bowl

Marshall (7-2) plays Buffalo (5-1) in the Camelia Bowl

No. 19 Louisiana plays Texas-San Antonio in the First Responder Bowl…
Western Kentucky plays Georgia State in the LendingTree Bowl…
No. 12 Coastal Carolina plays Liberty in the Mortgage Cure Bowl…

COLLEGE FOOTBALL NEWS… Alabama quarterback Mac Jones and his favorite receiver DeVonta Smith have been named as Heisman Trophy finalists. Quarterbacks Trevor Lawrence of Clemson and Florida’s Kyle Trask are the other two plays up for the award. Jones and Smith are the eighth set of teammates to be finalists together since the tradition started in 1982. Smith is trying to become the first wide receiver to win the Heisman since Michigan’s Desmond Howard in 1991. The Heisman will be awarded January 5 during a virtual ceremony.

New Orleans is at Miami…
Milwaukee hosts Golden State…
Brooklyn is at Boston…
the L.A. Lakers host Dallas…
the L.A. Clippers are at Denver

MLB NEWS… The Washington Nationals have acquired first baseman Josh Bell from the Pittsburgh Pirates in exchange for pitchers Wil Crowe and Eddy Yean. The 28-year-old Bell was an All-Star in 2019 before an injury-shortened second half of the season. He hit just eight homers while batting a career-low .226 in 57 games for the Pirates in 2020.

The Rundown for December 22, 2020

CORONAVIRUS UPDATES… The number of confirmed coronavirus cases in the U.S. has reached 18,035,209 and the nation’s death toll stands at 319,364, according to figures released last night by Johns Hopkins University. The U.S. yesterday recorded a second straight day of fewer than 200,000 cases and a fourth straight day of declining deaths. The decline in cases followed a record high of 249,700 on Friday. Figures show that hospitalizations in the United States are leveling off.

CONGRESS APPROVES CORONAVIRUS RELIEF BILLS… Congress has approved more than $900 billion for coronavirus assistance following an agreement reached Sunday night. The House voted to approve the two long-awaited bills and the Senate followed. The legislation will now go to President Trump, who has said he will sign it. The package contains direct stimulus payments for individuals of $600 to $700. It also includes enhanced federal unemployment benefits of $300 per week, $330 billion for small business loans, more than $80 billion for schools and several billion dollars to cover the costs of distributing COVID-19 vaccines made by Pfizer and Moderna.

ROBERT E. LEE STATUE REMOVED FROM CAPITOL… A statue of Confederate general Robert E. Lee was removed from the U.S. Capitol yesterday. Lee’s statue will be replaced by one of Barbara Johns, a Black woman who as a 16-year-old led classmates on a walkout of her segregated school. Virginia Governor Ralph Northam requested the removal of Lee’s statue over the summer.

WILLIAM BARR SEES NO NEED FOR SPECIAL PROSECUTOR… Attorney General William Barr said yesterday that he does not see a need for a special prosecutor in the criminal investigation of Hunter Biden or the November election. The announcement defied President Trump, who had been pushing for a special counsel to investigate the son of President-elect Joe Biden. Barr, who is stepping down effective tomorrow, will be replaced by Deputy Attorney General Jeffery Rosen.

HOUSE DEMS WANT ANSWERS ABOUT COVID RESPONSE… House Democrats have subpoenaed two top White House health officials. The Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Crisis wants to ask Secretary of Health and Human Services Alex Azar and Director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Robert Redfield about Trump Administration interference in scientific reports related to the coronavirus. Democrat Majority Whip James Clyburn said former HHS Assistant Secretary Michael Caputo, senior adviser Paul Alexander and other officials engaged in a “far-reaching campaign to influence CDC’s scientific reports, despite pushback from career staff.”

… Comedian John Mulaney, a former “Saturday Night Live” writer who won an Emmy Award in 2018 for his stand-up special “Kid Gorgeous at Radio City,” has reportedly checked himself into a Pennsylvania rehab facility to receive treatment for cocaine and alcohol abuse. The 38-year-old Mulaney hosted “SNL” for the fourth time just days before the 2020 election and has been writing for “Late Night with Seth Meyers” in recent weeks. He has previously discussed his struggles with drugs and alcohol and first got sober at age 23.

K.T. OSLIN DIES… K.T. Oslin, the first female songwriter to win the CMA Award for Song of the Year for her 1987 hit “80’s Ladies,” died yesterday after a battle with Parkinson’s disease and Covid-19. She was 78. Oslin’s chart-topping 1987 debut country album “80’s Ladies,” featured the Top 10 title track and a pair of No. 1 country hits in “Do Ya” and “I’ll Always Come Back.” Oslin was inducted into the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame in 2018.


CINCINNATI 27 – Pittsburgh 17
… The Bengals (3-10-1) built a 17-0 halftime lead on the way to handing the Steelers (11-3) their third straight loss. Giovanni Bernard ran 4 yards for one second-quarter touchdown and caught a 14-yard pass for another. Quarterback Ryan Finley ran yards for fourth-quarter score. The victory was Cincinnati’s first over Pittsburgh in 12 tries.

NFL NEWS… Hall of Fame linebacker Kevin Greene died yesterday of undisclosed causes, his family confirmed. He was 58. Greene was a two-time All-Pro and five-time Pro Bowl selection. His 160 career sacks rank third in league history behind only Bruce Smith (200) and Reggie White (198). Greene, who played for the L.A. Rams, Pittsburgh, Carolina and San Francisco during his 15-year career, was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2016.

No. 1 GONZAGA 95, Northwestern State 57…
No. 2 BAYLOR 99, Arkansas-Pine Bluff 42…
No. 6 TENNESSEE 102, Saint Joseph’s 66…
No. 21 FLORIDA STATE 72, Gardner-Webb 59….
No. 24 VIRGINIA TECH 84, Longwood 58

NHL NEWS… The NHL is preparing a 56-game season that will begin on January 13 with a temporary realignment of teams. Restrictions on crossing the U.S.-Canada border due to coronavirus concerns, the NHL is setting up an all-Canada division and realigning the other divisions. The top four in each division will make the playoffs. All regular-season games and the first two rounds of the playoffs will be played within the division.

The Rundown for December 21, 2020

CORONAVIRUS UPDATES… The number of confirmed coronavirus cases in the U.S. has reached 17,840,080 and the nation’s death toll stands at 316,667, according to figures released last night by Johns Hopkins University. There were 183,223 new cases and 1,414 deaths… Initial shipments of the Moderna vaccine shipped out of a Memphis-area factory yesterday and will be administered beginning today. The Food and Drug Administration (authorized their emergency rollout on Friday… President-elect Joe Biden’s pick for surgeon general, Vivek Murthy, said during an appearance on NBC’s “Meet the Press” yesterday that the Trump administration’s timeline for COVID-19 vaccinations may be unrealistic and that many Americans may not get the shot until summer or fall.

SENATE AGREES ON STIMULUS PACKAGE… The Senate reached agreement yesterday on a long-awaited second stimulus package, with votes expected today. The $900 billion bill includes a $600 per-person stimulus check. The bill will also include $300 per week in federal unemployment benefits, as well as several billion dollars to be allocated for schools, transportation, and rental and hunger relief, the Washington Post reported. The package would be the second-largest economic stimulus in U.S. history, following a $2.3 trillion aid bill passed in March.

TRUMP CAMPAIGN PETITIONS SUPREME COURT… The Trump campaign plans to try again to get the Supreme Court to overturn results from the November 3 election. Despite mounting criticism for its effort to subvert the electoral process and sow doubt over the legitimacy of President-elect Joe Biden’s victory, the campaign had filed a petition asking the high court to reverse three rulings by a Pennsylvania state court interpreting the state’s rules for mail-in ballots. Trump attorney Rudy Giuliani said the filing sought all “appropriate remedies,” including an order allowing Pennsylvania’s Republican-controlled legislature to award the state’s 20 electoral votes to Trump. Biden’s victory margin in the state surpassed 80,000 votes.

50 COMPANIES ‘IMPACTED’ BY HACK… The cyber-security firm that identified the large-scale hacking of U.S. government agencies says it “genuinely impacted” around 50 companies. Kevin Mandia, CEO of FireEye, said that some 18,000 companies had the malicious code in their networks, but only a fraction of them suffered major breaches. The Treasury, Homeland Security, State and Defense departments are known to have been targeted. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, along with the chairs of the Senate and House of Representatives’ intelligence committees, has blamed Russia for the hack.

ROCKETS TARGETED BAGHDAD GREEN ZONE… Iraq’s military and Iraqi officials reported last night that eight rockets targeted the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad’s heavily fortified Green Zone. An Iraqi military statement said an “an outlawed group” launched the rockets, which injured an Iraqi security person and caused material damage to a residential complex and some cars. The U.S. Embassy’s C-RAM defense system, which is used to destroy missiles in mid-air, was activated to deflect the attack, the embassy said in a statement.

… Taylor Swift’s “Evermore” sold 329,000 copies to give her an eighth No. 1 on the Billboard 200 album chart. Her previous release, “Folklore,” jumped into third place on sales of 133,000 units. Kid Cudi’s “Man on the Moon III: The Chosen” debuted in second place with 144,000 copies sold. Michael Bublé’s “Christmas” remained in fourth place after selling 58,000 units. Jack Harlow’s “Thats What They All Say” capped the top five with 51,000 copies sold.

L.A. FILM CRITICS PICK WINNERS… The Los Angeles Film Critics Association yesterday unveiled their picks for the year’s best in film. The association selected “Small Axe” as best picture. Chloe Zhao was named best director for “Nomadland.” Chadwick Boseman was chosen best actor for “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom,” with Carey Mulligan winning best actress for “Promising Young Women.” Glynn Turman was selected best supporting actor for “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom” and Youn Yuh-jung was named best supporting actress for “Minari.”


Tampa Bay 31 – ATLANTA 27
… The Buccaneers (5-9) overcame a pair of 17-point deficits to upend the Falcons (4-10). Tom Brady led five straight scoring drives in the second half and hit Antonio Brown with a go-ahead 46-yard touchdown pass with 6:19 remaining. Leonard Fournette scored on two touchdown runs.

DALLAS 41 – San Francisco 33… The Cowboys (5-9) scored four times off of turnovers to get past the 49ers (5-9). With Ezekiel Elliott sidelined with a calf injury, Tony Pollard ran for a pair of touchdowns. Andy Dalton threw two scoring passes.

TENNESSEE 46 – Detroit 25… Ryan Tannehill ran for two scores and threw touchdown passes to three different receivers in leading the Titans (10-4) past the Lions (5-9). Derrick Henry rushed for 147 yards and a TD.

INDIANAPOLIS 27 – Houston 20… Philip Rivers hit Zach Pascal with a tie-breaking 5-yard touchdown pass with 1:47 remaining as the Colts (10-4) topped the Texans (4-10). Indianapolis’ defense recovered a fumble in their own end zone with 19 seconds left to seal the victory.

MIAMI 22 – New England 12… Tua Tagovailoa scored on two short fourth-quarter runs as the Dolphins (9-5) pulled away from the Patriots (6-8). Salvon Ahmed rushed for 122 yards and a score.

Chicago 33 – MINNESOTA 27… David Montgomery ran for 146 yards and two touchdowns as the Bears (7-7) held off the Vikings (6-8). Cairo Santos booted four field goals to 48 yards.

Seattle 20 – WASHINGTON 15… The Seahawks (10-4) turned away a late rally to down Washington (6-8) and clinch a playoff spot. Seattle took a 20-3 lead into the fourth quarter after Carlos Hyde’s 50-yard touchdown run. Russell Wilson found Jacob Hollister with a 10-yard scoring strike in the second quarter.

BALTIMORE 40 – Jacksonville 14… The Ravens (9-5) built a 26-0 halftime lead and never looked back in their rout of the Jaguars (1-13). Lamar Jackson threw three touchdown passes and ran for a score.

N.Y. Jets 23 – L.A. RAMS 20… The Jets (1-13) held off the Rams (9-5) to notch their first victory of the season. Sam Darnold passed for 207 yards and a score.

ARIZONA 33 – Philadelphia 26… Kyler Murray’s 20-yard touchdown pass to DeAndre Hopkins with 7:17 remaining proved to be the difference as the Cardinals (8-6) topped the Eagles (4-9-1). Murray threw for 406 yards and three scores on the day. Hopkins finished with nine catches for 169 yards.

Kansas City 32 – NEW ORLEANS 29… The Chiefs (13-1) fought off the Saints (10-4) for their ninth straight win. Patrick Mahomes threw for 254 yards and three touchdowns.

Cleveland 20 – N.Y. GIANTS 6… The Browns (10-4) took one step closer to a playoff berth in grinding out a win over the Giants (5-9). Baker Mayfield led two 95-yard scoring drives and threw second-quarter touchdown passes to Austin Hooper and Jarvis Landry.

Pittsburgh (11-2) is at Cincinnati (2-10-1)

NORTHWESTERN 79, No. 4 Michigan State 65…
No. 6 HOUSTON 88, Alcorn State 55…
No. 9 Creighton 76, CONNECTICUT 74…
No. 11 Texas 77, Oklahoma State 74…
No. 19 RUTGERS 91, No. 13 Illinois 88

COLLEGE FOOTBALL NEWS… Alabama, Clemson, Ohio State and Notre Dame secured the top four spots in the final College Football Playoffs poll yesterday and will vie for the national championship. The semifinals are scheduled for January 1, with No. 1 Alabama battling No. 4 Notre Dame in the Rose Bowl, followed by No. 2 Clemson taking on No. 3 Ohio State in the Sugar Bowl. The winners advance to the January 11 title game in Miami.

The Rundown for December 18, 2020

CORONAVIRUS UPDATES… The number of confirmed coronavirus cases in the U.S. has reached 17,179,180 and the nation’s death toll stands at 310,325, according to figures released last night by Johns Hopkins University. There were 250,160 new cases and 3,561 deaths… The Federal Drug Administration’s advisory panel has approved the coronavirus vaccine made by Moderna for emergency use. Formal approval could come as early as today, clearing the way for nearly 6 million doses to be shipped.

HACK TARGETED ENERGY, NUCLEAR AGENCIES… The Energy Department and National Nuclear Security Administration say they have evidence that hackers accessed their networks as part of an extensive espionage operation that has affected at least half a dozen federal agencies. They found suspicious activity in networks belonging to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, Sandia and Los Alamos national laboratories in New Mexico and Washington, the Office of Secure Transportation at NNSA, and the Richland Field Office of the DOE. According to officials, hackers have been able to do more damage at FERC than the other agencies, and officials there have evidence of highly malicious activity.

BIDEN PICKS HAALAND AS INTERIOR SECRETARY… President-elect Joe Biden has reportedly picked Democratic congresswoman Deb Haaland of New Mexico to be interior secretary. Haaland has been serving as vice chair of the House Natural Resources Committee. If confirmed, she would become the first Native American to serve as a Cabinet secretary and oversee U.S. tribal lands and natural resources. Biden also plans to nominate North Carolina’s top environmental official, Michael Regan, to head the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. The 44-year-old Regan was an air quality specialist with the EPA during the Clinton and Bush administrations.

JOBLESS CLAIMS RISE… The Labor Department said in its weekly report released yesterday that the 885,000 American workers who filed new unemployment claims last week were the most since early September. The number of new claims was 9,000 more than the previous week. There are more than 9 million continuing claims for Pandemic Unemployment Assistance benefits and 5 million for those under Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation. Both programs are due to expire at the end of the month without an extension from Congress.

STORM POUNDS NORTHEAST… Much of the East is digging out from the storm that brought heavy snow from the central Appalachians to New England. Central Pennsylvania and south-central New York state got more than 3 feet of new snow and major cities were brought to a crawl. Snow was expected to continue falling in New England last night. More than a hundred flights were cancelled at Boston’s Logan Airport. Flights were also grounded at Newark-Liberty International Airport in New Jersey and New York City’s John F. Kennedy International Airport.

… British actor Jeremy Bulloch, who was best-known for playing Boba Fett in “Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back” and “Return of the Jedi,” has died following an extended illness. He was 75. Bulloch was a mainstay on British television and appeared the James Bond films “The Spy Who Loved Me” and “Octopussy.” Bulloch had a small cameo in “Star Wars Episode 3: Revenge of the Sith” as Captain Jeremoch Colton.

FRANCES McDORMAND TO ADAPT ‘WOMEN TALKING’… Frances McDormand will star in and produce an adaptation of “Women Talking,” the best-selling novel by Miriam Toews. The story follows a group of women in an isolated religious colony as they struggle to reconcile their faith with a series of sexual assaults committed by the colony’s men. McDormand, whose awards include two Oscars, two Primetime Emmys and a Tony, appears in the upcoming films “Nomadland” and “French Dispatch.”


L.A. Chargers 30 – LAS VEGAS 27 (OT)… Justin Hebert’s touchdown plunge with less than 2 minutes remaining in overtime lifted the Chargers (5-9) over the Raiders (7-7). Herbert passed for 314 yards and two scores.

Buffalo (10-3) is at Denver (5-8)…
Green Bay (10-3) hosts Carolina (4-9)

Tampa Bay (8-5) is at Atlanta (4-9)…
Dallas (4-9) hosts San Francisco (5-8)…
Detroit (5-8) is at Tennessee (9-4)…
Indianapolis (9-4) hosts Houston (4-9)…
New England (6-7) is at Miami (8-5)…
Minnesota (6-7) hosts Chicago (6-7)…
Washington (6-7) hosts Seattle (9-4)…
Jacksonville (1-12) is at Baltimore (8-5)…
the L.A. Rams () host the N.Y. Jets ()…
Philadelphia (4-8-1) is at Arizona (7-6)…
New Orleans (10-3) hosts Kansas City (12-1)…
Cleveland (9-4) is at the N.Y. Giants (5-8)

Pittsburgh (11-2) is at Cincinnati (2-10-1)

No. 5 Kansas 58, No. 14 TEXAS TECH 57…
No. 9 Creighton 94, ST. JOHN’S 76

No. 13 USC hosts Oregon in the Pac-12 Championship Game

No. 1 Alabama plays No. 7 Florida in the SEC Championship Game at Atlanta…
No. 2 Notre Dame plays No. 3 Clemson in the ACC Championship Game at Charlotte…
No. 4 Ohio State plays No. 14 Northwestern in the Big Ten Championship Game at Indianapolis…
No. 5 Texas A&M is at Tennessee…
No. 6 Iowa State plays No. 10 Oklahoma in the Big 12 Championshp Game at Arlington, Texas…
No. 9 Cincinnati hosts No. 23 Tulsa in the AAC Championship Game…
No. 24 San José State plays Boise State in the Mountain West Championship Game at Las Vegas

Charlotte 123, ORLANDO 115…
Detroit 97, WASHINGTON 86…
HOUSTON 128, San Antonio 106…
MEMPHIS 128, Atlanta 106…
Minnesota 129, DALLAS 127 (OT)…
Golden State 113, SACRAMENTO 109…
Utah 125, L.A. CLIPPERS 105

The Rundown for December 17, 2020

CORONAVIRUS UPDATES… The number of confirmed coronavirus cases in the U.S. has reached 16,955,024 and the nation’s death toll stands at 307,226, according to figures released last night by Johns Hopkins University. There were 246,996 new cases and 3,486 deaths… The 113,069 hospitalizations reported yesterday set a new record high and marked the 15th consecutive day that hospitalizations topped 100,000 in the U.S.

ELECTIONS SECURE, FORMER CYBERSECURITY EXPERT SAYS… The federal government’s former top cybersecurity expert yesterday defended his assessment that last month’s elections were secure during questioning. Christopher Krebs, who was fired by President Trump last month as head of the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency after he refuted false claims of voter fraud, assured members of the Senate homeland security committee that last month’s election was “the most secure in American history.” Democratic Senator Gary Peters of Michigan denounced the legal efforts by Trump and his Republican supporters to sow public doubt about the election outcome. Trump and Republicans have gone 1-59 in post-election court challenges and have presented no evidence supporting voter-fraud claims.

10 STATES SUE GOOGLE… A group of 10 state attorneys general led by Texas’ Ken Paxton filed an antitrust suit against Google yesterday, accusing the company of working with Facebook illegally to boost online advertising. The complaint alleges that Google engaged in “anticompetitive conduct, exclusionary practices, and deceptive misrepresentations” across its huge suite of products. The Department of Justice also filed an antitrust suit against Google in October, accusing it of monopolistic behavior in its domination of online search.

RETAIL SALES DECLINED AGAIN IN NOVEMBER… Retail sales in the U.S. declined in November for the second straight month, according to the Commerce Department’s monthly report released yesterday. The department found that retail and food-service sales for the month were $546.5 billion, a decrease of 1.1 percent from October. Bars and restaurants saw a 4 percent decline in sales and business was down at U.S. auto dealerships, gas stations, department stores, clothing stores, home furnishing dealers and electronics stores. The National Retail Federation noted, however, that retail sales in November were still close to 9 percent higher than they were a year ago.

FED RAISES EXPECTATIONS… The Federal Reserve has raised its economic expectations slightly for the end of this year as well as for 2021. In its Summary of Economic Projections released yesterday, the central bank expects real gross domestic product to fall just 2.4 percent in 2020, compared with a decline of 3.7 percent predicted in September. The Fed also upped its 2021 real GDP forecast to 4.2 percent from its previous 4.0 estimate. The central bank estimates the unemployment rate to fall to 6.7 percent this year, further below the 7.6 percent previously predicted. The unemployment rate should fall to 5.0 percent in 2021, compared with the central bank’s previous estimate of 5.5 percent.

… NBC and Warner Bros. Television are developing a sequel series to the 1980s sitcom “Night Court.” The original series ran for nine seasons from 1984 to 1992 on NBC. The revival will follow judge Abby Stone as she presides over an arraignment court in Manhattan during the night shift. The judge is the daughter of the show’s original main character, Harry Stone, who was portrayed by the late Harry Anderson. Original star John Larroquette will be reprising his role as attorney Dan Fielding in the revival. The actor earned four Emmy awards in the role.

‘LIZZIE McGUIRE’ REVIVAL NOT HAPPENING… Star Hilary Duff announced on social media yesterday that the long-awaited “Lizzie McGuire” revival won’t happen. She revealed that the Disney+ series has been officially shelved after multiple delays. The revival was placed on a production hiatus in February with two episodes already completed. Producers hoped to launch it 15 years after the original series went off the air following 65 episodes on the Disney Channel.


No. 7 VILLANOVA 85, Butler 66…
No. 11 TEXAS 79, Sam Houston State 63…
Purdue 67, No. 20 Ohio State 60…
No. 21 Duke 75, NOTRE DAME 65

NEW YORK 100, Cleveland 93…
Chicago 124, OKLAHOMA CITY 103…
DENVER 126, Portland 95…
L.A. Lakers 112, PHOENIX 107

the L.A. Chargers (4-9) are at Las Vegas (7-6)

MLB NEWS… Players who played in the seven “Negro Leagues” that existed between 1920 and 1948 will now be considered major leaguers, Major League Baseball announced yesterday. “All of us who love baseball have long known that the Negro Leagues produced many of our game’s best players, innovations and triumphs against a backdrop of injustice,” MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred said in making the announcement. Major League Baseball did not integrate until Jackie Robinson debuted for the Brooklyn Dodgers in 1947. Just two years earlier, Robinson was a member of the Negro Leagues’ Kansas City Monarchs.

The Rundown for December 15, 2020

CORONAVIRUS UPDATES… The number of confirmed coronavirus cases in the U.S. has reached 16,515,717 and the nation’s death toll stands at 300,474, according to figures released last night by Johns Hopkins University. There were 198,647 new cases and 1,619 deaths… An intensive care unit nurse in New York became the first person in the U.S. to receive the newly authorized Pfizer/BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine yesterday. Sandra Lindsay’s vaccination comes months after she began treating the sickest of COVID-19 patients.

BIDEN, HARRIS WIN OFFICIAL… Joe Biden and Kamala Harris received 306 electoral votes yesterday to confirm their election as president and vice president. The 55 votes from California pushed them above the 270 votes required for victory. Subsequent votes from Hawaii gave them a final total of 306 to Donald Trump’s 232. During a prime-time speech last night, Biden called on Americans to “turn the page” on the Trump era and called for unity, noting that “democracy beats deep in the hearts of the American people.”

WILLIAM BARR STEPPING DOWN… Attorney General William Barr confirmed yesterday that he plans to step down before Christmas. His departure comes just a month before the conclusion of Donald Trump’s presidency and amid recent clashes with the White House over its election-fraud claims. Prior to the election, Barr faced heavy criticism for politicizing the Justice Department and taking a militant approach to protesters. Deputy Attorney General Jeff Rosen will become acting attorney general, Trump announced.

DEPARTMENT OF HOMELAND SECURITY TARGETED IN HACK… The Department of Homeland Security is among federal agencies that were targeted in hacks blamed on Russian intelligence. Cybersecurity analysts say the hacks exploited weaknesses in network security software from SolarWinds, a company whose products are used by more than 300,000 customers, including more than 400 of the U.S. Fortune 500 companies, five branches of the U.S. military and the Departments of Defense, State and Justice, as well as the office of the president. The Commerce and Treasury Departments also reported being hacked in an attack that began in the spring.

SENATORS PRESENT BIPARTISAN RELIEF BILL… A bipartisan group of 12 senators yesterday introduced their $908 billion, two-part COVID-19 stimulus bill. The legislation includes a $748 billion package focused on funding for education, vaccines and transportation in addition to a $160 billion add-on that includes state and local funding as well as a short-term liability shield for employers. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has dismissed Democrats’ calls for funding and hopes lawmakers pass a bill before lawmakers wrap up their legislative session at the end of the week.

… “The Dark Knight,” “Grease,” “The Blues Brothers,” and “Shrek” are among films selected for inclusion in the National Film Registry yesterday. The Library of Congress annually chooses 25 films on the basis of their cultural, historic or aesthetic importance. Other films selected included “Freedom Riders,” “The Hurt Locker,” “Mauna Kea: Temple Under Siege,” “The Ground,” “Buena Vista Social Club,” “The Devil Never Sleeps,” “The Joy Luck Club,” “Illusions,” “Losing Ground,” “Wattstax,” “Sweet Sweetback’s Baadasssss Song,” “A Clockwork Orange,” “Lilies of the Field,” “The Man with the Golden Arm,” “Outrage,” “Cabin the Sky,” “With Cara and Camera Around the World,” “The Battle of the Century,” “Bread, “Kid Auto Races at Venice” and “Suspense.”

SHAWN MENDES TOPS ALBUM CHART… Shawn Mendes’ new release, “Wonder,” sold 89,000 copies to give him his fourth No. 1 on the Billboard 200 album chart. Last week’s champ, Bad Bunny’s “El Ultimo Tour del Mundo,” dropped into second place on sales of 57,000 units. Ariana Grande’s “Positions” jumped to No. 3 after selling 55,200 copies. Michael Bublé’s “Christmas” finished fourth with 55,000 units sold. Carrie Underwood’s “My Gift” sold 53,000 copies to cap the top five.


Baltimore 47 – CLEVELAND 42
… Justin Tucker booted a tie-breaking 54-yard field goal with 7 seconds remaining and the Ravens (8-5) added a safety on the game’s final desperation play to cap a wild win over the Browns (9-4). After Cleveland scored back-to-back touchdowns in the fourth quarter to erase a 13-point deficit, Baltimore’s Lamar Jackson threw a go-ahead 44-yard touchdown pass to Marquise Brown with 1:51 left. A two-point conversion gave the Ravens a seven-point lead that they couldn’t hold. Browns quarterback Baker Mayfield threw a pair of touchdown passes and ran for a score to fuel his team’s fourth-quarter comeback. Jackson rushed for 124 yards and two scores to lead the Ravens’ ground game.

Marquette 89, No. 9 CREIGHTON 84…
No. 19 Rutgers 74, MARYLAND 60

CLEVELAND 116, Indiana 106…
Toronto 112, CHARLOTTE 109…
New Orleans 114, MIAMI 92…
Dallas 128, MILWAUKEE 112…
Memphis 123, MINNESOTA 104…
UTAH 111, Phoenix 92

The Rundown for December 14, 2020

CORONAVIRUS UPDATES… The number of confirmed coronavirus cases in the U.S. has reached 16,251,716 and the nation’s death toll stands at 299,163, according to figures released last night by Johns Hopkins University. There were 187,901 new cases and 1,379 deaths… The first shipments of Pfizer and BioNTech’s COVID-19 vaccine are en route. 184,275 vials of the vaccine were trucked out of Pfizer’s facility in Kalamazoo, Michigan, yesterday. A combined 189 boxes of the vaccine is set to be distributed among all 50 states today. The shipments began immediately after Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Director Robert Redfield gave his approval.

TREASURY, COMMERCE DEPARTMENTS HACKED… The U.S. Treasury and Commerce departments were hacked by Russian government-backed spies, Reuters and the Washington Post reported yesterday. The hack was serious enough that analysts briefed the National Security Council. Commerce Department’s National Telecommunications and Information Administration, which is in charge of advising the president on telecommunications issues, was reportedly targeted. Cybersecurity experts say the group behind the hacks – APT29 or Cozy Bear — works with Russia’s foreign intelligence agency. APT29 was blame early last week for a hack on a top U.S. cybersecurity firm.

TRUMP CONTINUES DEFENSE BILL VETO THREAT… President Trump yesterday offered China as the reason he remains determined to veto an annual defense policy bill that passed by a veto-proof majority in the Senate last week. “The biggest winner of our new defense bill is China!” Trump tweeted. “I will veto!” Lawmakers from both parties insist the bill, which covers the military’s budget for equipment and pay raises for service members, would be tough on China and must become law as soon as possible. The president has previously threatened to veto the bill over a requirement that military bases honoring Confederate leaders eventually be renamed. He also threatened a veto to try to force lawmakers to include provisions that punish social media companies he claims were biased against him during the election.

33 ARRESTED IN D.C. AFTER VIOLENT CLASHES… Police in Washington, D.C., arrested 33 people amid violent protests over the weekend. Protesters clashed with police and there were confrontations between supporters of President Trump and counter-protesters. According to the Metropolitan Police Department, charges ranged from assaulting a cop to general assault, illegal weapons possession and resisting arrest. Eight police officers were hurt. Four people also suffered non-life-threatening stab wounds in one confrontation. Vandals tore down a Black Lives Matter banner and sign from two historic Black churches and set the banner ablaze. Police are investigating the incidents at the Asbury United Methodist Church and Metropolitan A.M.E. Church as potential hate crimes.

NEW RELIEF BILL TO BE INTRODUCED… Democratic Senator Joe Manchin of West Virginia said yesterday that a bipartisan group of lawmakers plans to introduce a $908 billion COVID-19 relief bill today. During an appearance on “Fox News Sunday,” Manchin said the bill would serve as an emergency measure to help the nation survive the first fiscal quarter of 2021. The bill calls for $288 billion in small-business support and $180 billion for extended unemployment insurance.

… Best-selling spy novelist John le Carre died at his home in England on Saturday. He was 89 and had been battling pneumonia. The author’s classics include “The Spy Who Came in from the Cold,” “Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy” and “The Honourable Schoolboy.” “Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy,” published in 1974 was adapted into a 2011 film starring Gary Oldman and Colin Firth.

EDDIE VAN HALEN DIED OF A STROKE… Eddie Van Halen’s cause of death was a stroke, according to his death certificate obtained by TMZ. The certificate lists underlying causes, including pneumonia, the bone marrow disorder myelodysplastic syndrome and lung cancer. The certificate also listed a number of “other significant conditions”, including skin cancer on his head and neck and an irregular heart rate. Van Halen’s body was cremated 22 days after his death and his ashes were given to his son Wolfgang.


CHICAGO 36 – Houston 7
… The Bears (6-7) cruised past the Texans (4-9) to snap their six-game skid. Mitchell Trubisky passed for 267 yards and three touchdowns. Allen Robinson had nine catches for 123 yards and a score. David Montgomery rushed for 113 yards and a TD.

Dallas 30 – CINCINNATI 7… Andy Dalton threw a pair of touchdown passes in his return to Cincinnati and the Cowboys (4-9) cruised past the Bengals (2-10-1). Aldon Smith returned a fumble 78 yards for a score.

Kansas City 33 – MIAMI 27… The Chiefs (12-1) held off the Dolphins (8-5) to clinch their fifth straight AFC West title. Patrick Mahomes threw for 393 yards and a touchdown but was intercepted three times. Travis Kelce had eight receptions for 136 yards and a score.

Arizona 26 – N.Y. GIANTS 7… The Cardinals (7-6) turned it up defensively in downing the Giants (5-8). Heason Reddick recorded five sacks and three forced fumbles. Kyler Murray passed for 244 yards and a touchdown. Deandre Hopkins had nine catches for 136 yards.

TAMPA BAY 26 – Minnesota 14… Tom Brady threw a pair of touchdown passes as the Buccaneers (8-5) handled the Vikings (6-7). Defensively, Tampa Bay recorded six sacks.

Denver 32 – CAROLINA 27… Drew Lock passed for 280 yards and four touchdowns as the Broncos (5-8) held off the Panthers (4-9). K.J. Hamler had two TD catches. Diontae Spenser returned a punt 83 yards for a score.

Tennessee 31 – JACKSONVILLE 10… Derrick Henry ran for 215 yards and two touchdowns as the Titans (9-4) dealt the Jaguars (1-12) their 12th straight loss. Ryan Tannehill threw for 212 yards and two scores. A.J. Brown had seven receptions for 112 yards and a TD.

Indianapolis 44 – LAS VEGAS 27… Philip Rivers threw for 244 yards and hit T.Y. Hilton with a pair of touchdown passes as the Colts (9-4) topped the Raiders (7-6). Jonathan Taylor rushed for 150 yards and two scores.

SEATTLE 40 – N.Y. Jets 3… Russell Wilson threw touchdown passes to four different receivers before sitting out the fourth quarter and the Seahawks (9-4) dismantled the Jets (0-13).

Green Bay 31 – DETROIT 24… Aaron Rodgers ran for a tie-breaking touchdown in the third quarter and threw touchdown passes in leading the Packers (10-3) past the Lions (5-8). Devante Adams had seven catches for 115 yards and a score.

PHILADELPHIA 24 – New Orleans 21… The Eagles (4-8-1) built a 17-0 halftime lead and held off the Saints (10-3). Miles Sanders rushed for 115 yards and two scores. Jalen Hurts got the stars at quarterback and threw a 15-yard touchdown pass to open the scoring in the first quarter.

L.A. CHARGERS 20 – Atlanta 17… Michael Badgley booted a 43-yard field goal as time expired to lift the Chargers (4-9) over the Falcons (4-9). Justin Herbert passed for 243 yards and two scores.

Washington 23 – SAN FRANCISCO 15… Washington (6-7) dominated the 49ers (5-8) defensively in a hard-fought win. Chase Young returned a fumble 47 yards for a touchdown. Kamren Curl added a 76-yard interception return for a score.

BUFFALO 26 – Pittsburgh 15… Taron Johnson returned an interception 51 yards for a go-ahead touchdown in the first quarter and the Bills (10-3) never looked back in their win over the Steelers (11-2). Josh Allen threw touchdown passes to Stefon Diggs and Gabriel Davis in the third quarter.

Baltimore (7-5) is at Cleveland (9-3)

No. 3 IOWA 103, Northern Illinois 53…
No. 4 MICHIGAN STATE 109, Oakland 91…
No. 11 WEST VIRGINIA 87, No. 19 Richmond 71…
No. 22 OHIO STATE 67, Cleveland State 61…
No. 23 Arizona State 71, GRAND CANYON 70…

MLB NEWS… The Cleveland Indians plan to change their nickname after 108 years. They become the latest professional sports franchise to remove Native American imagery amid accusations that its use is racist. Cleveland has not settled on a new nickname.

COLLEGE FOOTBALL NEWS… Auburn has fired head football coach Gus Malzahn after eight seasons. The Tigers went 68-34 under Malzahn and reached the BCS National Championship in his first season in 2013… Lovie Smith is out as head football coach at Illinois after five seasons. The Illini went 17-39 (10-33 in the Big Ten) under. Smith, who guided the NFL’s Chicago Bears to a Super Bowl appearance in 2006.