SACRAMENTO, Calif. Stitched Suns Jerseys . -- After having his worst game in a Detroit Pistons uniform earlier in the week, free agent Josh Smith erased that memory with his best game Friday night. Smith had 21 points, eight rebounds and seven assists for the struggling Pistons, who snapped a four-game skid with a 97-90 victory over the Sacramento Kings. The Pistons built a 10-point advantage after three quarters and their lead remained in double figures for much of the fourth as Detroit won its first road game of the season. Smith also contributed on the defensive end with five steals and four blocks. He was coming off a two-point game in a lopsided loss at Golden State on Tuesday, when the veteran forward made 1 of 6 shots in 19 minutes. Against the Kings, Smith had a fast start at the offensive end and stayed active throughout. He made 6 of 11 shots, hit two 3-pointers, and connected on 7 of 10 free throws. "Thats the way Josh plays. He scored, rebounded and had four blocks," Pistons coach Maurice Cheeks said. "Thats the way we need Josh to play. He was spectacular tonight." Smith was active right away, getting five points, but more importantly, five assists in igniting the Pistons running game and building a 27-21 lead after one quarter. Detroit had started slow in its previous two games, especially in the loss to Golden State, which led by 19 points heading into the second quarter. "It was vital to our success to start the tempo early," Smith said. "We knew it would be a loud crowd out there and we wanted to set the tone early." Andre Drummond was also a major factor for Detroit. In a game-long battle with Kings centre DeMarcus Cousins, Drummond fared well, getting 15 points and tieing a career-high with 18 rebounds. Drummond, who teams with Greg Monroe to give Detroit a strong inside game, was active at both ends of the court. He made 7 of 13 shots and had eight offensive rebounds and two steals. Cousins had a strong game as well with 26 points and 13 rebounds. "DeMarcus Cousins is a heck of a player," Drummond said. "I knew what I was getting myself into tonight. Hes one of the best centres in the league, but I think I did a pretty good job against him." Isaiah Thomas had 18 points and seven assists and Greivis Vasquez had 13 points for the Kings, who have lost six of seven. Sacramento entered the game averaging the fewest turnovers per game in the NBA, but committed 17 against an aggressive Detroit defence. "You cant win games if you consistently beat yourself," Kings coach Michael Malone said. "This is one of the few games this year that we turned the ball over at a high rate. The worst part about it was they seemed to score on every turnover we committed." Rodney Stuckey scored 16 points for Detroit, which concludes a four-game trip Sunday against the Lakers. Brandon Jennings had 11 points and nine assists, and Kyle Singler added 11 points. A jumper by Stuckey and a basket by Drummond gave the Pistons a 95-82 lead with 3:02 remaining. The Kings, who have a habit of rallying in the fourth quarter and making games close, were unable to put together a significant run in the fourth to the disappointment of a sellout crowd that stayed around until the final seconds. "We didnt focus on (the crowd) and we didnt talk about this being an ESPN game and all that was going on," Cheeks said. The Pistons went ahead by 14 points on a 3 by Smith early in the fourth quarter. Drummond and Smith had seven points apiece in the third quarter and the Pistons scored the final six points of the period to take an 80-70 lead into the fourth. The Pistons outscored the Kings 26-19 in the third. "We gave them too many second chances by giving the ball away and offensive rebounds," said Vasquez, who had eight turnovers. "Weve got to give them credit. They played better at the end and they got the win." NOTES: Inspired by Sacramentos only scheduled nationally televised TV game, a raucous sellout crowd at Sleep Train Arena set a Guinness world record for loudest noise at an indoor arena at 124.5 decibels. ... The Kings had a season-high seven turnovers in the first quarter and trailed 27-21. . Veteran Pistons guard Chauncey Billups missed the game due to a sore knee. He is day to day. Rookie Kentavious Caldwell-Pope made his first start of the season in Billups place. ... Kings reserve forward Patrick Patterson left the game in the opening half with knee contusion and didnt return. . Malone got his first technical of the season in the second quarter for arguing a no-call against Cousins. Jevon Carter Jersey . Lynchs attorney, Ivan Golde, told The Associated Press on Thursday of the plea deal that was reached with the Alameda County District Attorney Office. The plea will be formally entered in court in Oakland, Calif. Don Buse Jersey . - The RBC Canadian Open will return to Glen Abbey Golf Club next year, marking the 27th time that the national open championship will be played at the Oakville, Ont.CLEVELAND -- After considering some in-house options, the Cleveland Indians may have found their new closer on the outside. Free agent John Axford, who had 46 saves for Milwaukee in 2011 but has struggled the past two seasons, agreed to a one-year, $4.5 million contract with the Indians, pending a physical. Axford, who is from Simcoe, Ont., is expected to undergo a medical exam Wednesday. Also, the Indians signed free agent starter Shaun Marcum to a minor league deal and will give him a chance to win a starting job in spring training. As long as there are no issues, Axford will likely close for the Indians in 2014, replacing Chris Perez, who was released on Oct. 31. Axford can earn an additional $1.75 million if he reaches performance bonuses. Cleveland initially considered moving either reliever Bryan Shaw or Cody Allen into the closers spot, but at last weeks winter meetings manager Terry Francona said he preferred to keep the two reliable right-handers in their setup roles. The 30-year-old Axford lost his closers job last year with the Brewers and was traded to St. Louis in August. He blew six save chances in 62 games last season with the Brewers before they dealt him to the Cardinals, who used him in a late-inning role. Axford had a 1.74 ERA in 13 games for St. Louis. The 6-foot-5 right-hander had his best season in 2011, when he went 2-2 with a 1.95 ERA and 46 saves in 74 appearances. Axford had 106 saves in five seasons with the Brewers. He has a 1.42 ERA in 12 postt-season appearances. Phoenix Suns Shirts. In addition to Axford, the Indians showed interest in free agents Joaquin Benoit, Grant Balfour and Fernando Rodney. Clevelands bullpen has been in flux this off-season. The club released Perez, a two-time All-Star, following a turbulent 2013 season. Cleveland lost valuable right-hander Joe Smith, who signed a three-year deal with the Los Angeles Angels. Perez was eligible for salary arbitration, but the Indians decided to cut ties with him following a rough year. The colorful closer lost his job in the final week of the regular season as the Indians were fighting for an AL wild-card berth. Perez, who had 124 saves for Cleveland, became an off-field distraction following his arrest in June on misdemeanour drug charges. Marcums deal includes an invitation to spring training, where the 32-year-old right-hander will be in the mix to join Clevelands rotation. Marcum would receive a $1 million salary if hes added to the 40-man roster, and he can earn another $3 million in bonuses. Marcum, who has a 58-46 career record in the majors, was limited to 14 games -- 12 starts -- this year for the New York Mets before he underwent season-ending shoulder surgery. He went 1-10 with a 5.29 ERA before having the operation in July. Marcum has also pitched for Toronto (2005-10) and Milwaukee (2011-12). He was selected by the Blue Jays in the third round of the 2003 June draft. He pitched more than 150 innings in four of five seasons from 2007-11. ' ' '
MANCHESTER, England - Mario Balotelli sparked a dramatic fightback by Liverpool and Chelsea needed a late own goal to edge past plucky fourth-tier opposition as the two Premier League giants squeezed into the League Cup quarterfinals. Blazers Jerseys 2021 .Late goals settled four of the five last-16 matches on Tuesday — and two were scored at Anfield as Liverpool came from behind to beat Swansea 2-1.Balotelli, criticized in recent weeks for a string of below-par displays, inspired the comeback by coming off the bench to score an 86th-minute equalizer before Dejan Lovren headed in the winner in the fifth minute of stoppage time.Finally! Balotelli said on Twitter after scoring his first goal in six weeks and only his second for Liverpool since joining from AC Milan in August.A patched-up Chelsea lineup looked like being taken to extra time by Shrewsbury, a team 71 places below it in English footballs pyramid, only for Jermaine Grandison to head into his own net after 81 minutes to seal a 2-1 win for the Premier League leaders.Didier Drogba had given Chelsea the lead in the 48th, with the 36-year-old striker scoring for the third straight game and just two days after netting at Manchester United in the Premier League.It was a difficult pitch and difficult weather, said Drogba, one of four Chelsea starters who also began the 1-1 draw against United. They were a fantastic team and opponent — they showed why they deserve to be here tonight.West Bromwich Albions decision to field a virtual reserve team against second-tier Bournemouth backfired in a 2-1 loss for the upset of the round.Derby and Sheffield United, who play in the second and third tiers respectively, also advanced on Tuesday.Manchester City and Tottenham are among those looking to reach the last eight on Wednesday.Balotelli started on the bench against Swansea but was thrown on by Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers in the 79th minute after Marvin Emnes volleyed the visitors into the lead. Within seven minutes, Balotelli guided home a cross from Fabio Borini to equalize.Swansea defender Federico Fernandez was shown a red card in the second minute of injury time for a foul on Philippe Coutinho, who provided the cross from a free kick that Lovren headed in at the back post for a last-gasp winner.Chelsea remained unbeaten in all competitions this season — and reached the last eight of the League Cup for the fourth straight season — but only after surviving a scare against the lowest-ranked team left in the competition.Drogba has starred in the absence of injured fellow strikers Loic Remy and Diego Costa, scoring against Maribor in the Champions League last week, at Old Trafford on Sunday and again against Shrewsbury when he swept home a left-footed finish from Mohamed Salahs pass.Shrewsbury equalized in the 77th minute through Andy Mangan but was on level terms for just four minutes, as substitute Willians teasing cross was diverted in by Grandison.I was ready for extra time, Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho said.There was late drama, too, at Bournemouth, which reached the quarterfinals for the first time thanks to Callum Wilsons 86th-minute strike. West Brom had equalized just a minute earlier from an own goal.By scoring five times in 20 minutes, Derby came from 2-0 down to beat Fulham 5-2 away in a match between two League Championship teams. Sheffield United beat fellow third-tier side MK Dons 2-1. Rod Strickland Jersey .A. Happ capped a challenging season with one of his best efforts of the year. Cliff Robinson Jersey . -- Having already fallen behind because of the NFL lockout, Blaine Gabbert couldnt afford a lengthy holdout.HOUSTON -- Jadeveon Clowney was on the field with the Houston Texans as they opened camp on Saturday. But the No. 1 overall pick in this years draft was limited as he continues to recover from surgery to repair a sports hernia. Clowney, who had surgery on June 12, participated in the majority of the drills as Houston started camp with a 2 1/2-hour practice on Saturday morning. But he was held out of 11 on 11 drills late in the workout. The first workout was open to the public and fans cheered as Clowney trotted onto the field for the start of practice. Others squealed and yelled his name as he walked off of it and he flashed a big smile before first taking a second to pull his flowing dreadlocks, which were drenched in sweat from the workout, away from his face. He said hes feeling better, but isnt 100 per cent yet. Despite that Clowney didnt appear to be slowed by the injury and moved around well during practice. He said its up to the trainers if hell be able to take part in drills when the Texans move from shorts and shells to full pads in a few days. "Im just taking it one day at a time," Clowney said. "Im just letting the trainers take it one day at a time and try to come back and get back for the first game." The Texans open the preseason on Aug. 9 at Arizona. Coach Bill OBrien said hell let the trainers decide how much Clowney will do and when. "Weve got the best when it comes to that," OBrien said. "We do that and these guys are edgy, they want to get going, but its a long season. So we bring them back at their pace. When theyre ready to go, theyll go." The 6-foot-5, 266-pound former South Carolina standout is moving from defensive end to outside linebacker in defensive co-ordinator Romeo Crennels systemm and believes the transition is going well. Gary Trent Jersey . "Im feeling very comfortable, but Ive still got a lot of work to do," Clowney said. "Just keep getting better and better each day." Hell pair with 2012 Defensive Player of the Year J.J. Watt to beef up Houstons already solid pass rush. Clowney had 130 tackles, 24 sacks, 47 tackles for losses and 20 quarterback pressures in a three-year career at South Carolina. He also caused a school-record nine fumbles and deflected seven passes. The 21-year-old also set a South Carolina record with 13 sacks in 2012. Watt said hes eager to see how Clowney and the rest of Houstons rookies perform in camp. "Training camp is a good time for rookies to get their feet wet," Watt said. "Once we finally put the pads on, it will be a good opportunity to see how they perform in a situation like that. So it will be exciting." Clowneys still soaking in the fact that he now gets to play with people he watched over the past several years. "Its very exciting," he said. "It was exciting the first time I got out here with the guys I looked up to coming into the NFL -- J.J. Watt, Johnathan Joseph, D.J. (Swearinger), guys like that on my team I just I looked up to before I got here. So now that Im here with them, its even better." Clowney missed Houstons three-day minicamp because of his surgery, but got going early by participating in Houstons off-season workouts leading up to that camp. He feels as if that helped him improve since he was drafted in May. "Im a lot better than where I was," he said. "Ive learned a lot of the playbook already. Coach already said that we look good out there, so weve just got to keep pushing." ' ' '