International players will be permitted to change allegiances, subject to meeting certain criteria, following the approval of the World Rugby Council.

The amendment to the sport's regulations governing national team representation will come into effect from January 1, 2022.

Following extensive discussions, the new process has been applied with the aim of benefitting players and the global competitiveness of rugby.

In order to meet the criteria, a player must either be born in the country to which they wish to transfer, or have a parent or grandparent who was born in that country.

Furthermore, a player hoping to make the switch must stand down from international rugby for a period of three years.

Players may only change union once and each case will be subject to approval by the World Rugby Regulations Committee in order to preserve integrity.

World Rugby chairman Bill Beaumont said: "Approval of this landmark regulatory change is the culmination of detailed and widespread modelling and consultation across the game. 

"We have listened to our membership and players and sought to update the regulation recognising the modern professional rugby environment without compromising the integrity of the international game.

"Any player who wishes to transfer will need to have a close and credible link to their new union, namely birth right or parent or grandparent birth right while meeting strong criteria, including a 36-month stand-down period. 

"We believe that this is the fairest way to implement progressive change that puts players first while also having the potential to support a growing, increasingly competitive international men's and women’s game."

Lewis Hamilton is hopeful that future team-mate George Russell will be the next Briton to win the Formula One world championship.

The British drivers will link up next season, with Russell set to replace Valtteri Bottas at Mercedes.

The 24-year-old is 15th in the drivers' standings, having achieved his first podium with Williams at the Belgian Grand Prix, while also recording top-10 finishes in Hungary, Italy and Russia.

Many expect Russell to offer a genuine challenge to Hamilton, who recently signed a new two-year deal with Mercedes, with the latter seeking an eighth world title and just eight points behind leader Max Verstappen heading into the final two races of the 2021 season.

The 36-year-old is anticipating a healthy rivalry with his compatriot and hopes he can be a positive influence on the 2018 Formula 2 world champion.

"You've seen George is hugely respectful," he said in an interview published by BBC Sport.

"He's a super-talented young man and I think there's a huge amount of respect already going in, and we've got a nice balance at the moment.

"But he's going to want to be quick, he's going to want to show up and win, and do all those things that you do when you enter a new role.

"I remember in 2007 when I went up against [Fernando] Alonso [at McLaren]. Of course, I wanted to beat him at the first race, so I appreciate and expect George to have that mentality; otherwise he's not a winner.

"But I'm in a different place. I really want to see him succeed. There's going to be a point where I don't continue in this sport. He's my team-mate, and he's going to be the next Brit that I want to see win a world championship.

"So, while we are going to be competing, and I want to win on track. I really hope I can have a positive influence on how he conducts himself within the team, whether it's the time he commits to engineering or how he churns through the data, or even just how he drives on track."

Jamaica's 2020 Olympic heavyweight boxer Ricardo 'Big 12' Brown has turned professional after recently finalizing a contract with United Boxing Promotions in Canada where he now resides.

Tyler Buxton of United Boxing Promotions, in announcing the signing, believes Brown possesses significant potential.

“Everyone loves heavyweights and at 6’7”, Ricardo is a massive heavyweight,” he said. “They call him ‘Big 12’ for a reason. He has knockout power in both hands. I’m excited to launch Ricardo’s professional career and build a platform for professional boxing in Jamaica with Big12 leading the way.”

When Brown qualified for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics he became the first Jamaican to do so since 1996. The Pan Am Games bronze medalist said he is keen to begin his professional career.

“I’m very happy to be a part of the United Boxing Promotions. I’m humbled and I am looking forward to seeing what United Boxing Promotions have to offer me as I start my boxing career,” he said.

Brown said he hopes to inspire youngsters in both Jamaica and Canada, encouraging them, “Stay determined, disciplined, honest, and focused. You too can be in the Olympic ring one day or even have a professional boxing career.”

Born and raised in Spanish Town, St Catherine, Brown was introduced to boxing at an early age but now trains in Canada with Dewith Frazer.

Meanwhile, President of the Jamaica Boxing Board Stephen Bomber Jones fully endorsed Brown’s transition to the professional ranks.

"Having witnessed first-hand the trajectory of 'Big12' Brown's career from a novice to elite national representative and medalist, I am more than excited about the possibilities this his professional future entails,” the boxing board president said.

“I am not only certain that it will be a bright one but I truly believe he has all that it takes to be a future world heavyweight champion and we look forward to him fighting as a pro here on home soil."

Lewis Hamilton is aiming to be the "smarter" driver as he bids to outrun Max Verstappen in a remarkably close Formula One title challenge.

Hamilton is hunting a record seventh world title, but currently trails Verstappen by eight points heading into the final two races of the season.

The 36-year-old has won the last two grands prix, however, having followed up his triumph in Sao Paulo with success in Qatar last weekend.

Hamilton and Verstappen's contest has regularly boiled over onto the track, the former penalised for a collision at Silverstone, while the latter was punished at the Italian Grand Prix and was fortunate to escape a penalty for a near-miss in Brazil.

"Rather than giving someone the benefit of the doubt, you have to know that's what's going to happen," Hamilton told BBC Sport.

"So you always have to be ready to avoid a collision at all costs, [even] if it means going wide, because you want to see the end of the race, right? If you're stubborn and you hold your ground, you're going to crash.

"So that's what I've just tried to do. You can't always get it perfect.

"I am not too big or too successful to have to back out to fight another day. I know that is sometimes the route you have to take. You have to be the smarter one.

"And sometimes you lose points in doing that, for sure, but it's not just about me. I have 2,000 people behind me and through that selfish decision I could make. That costs all my team potential bonuses at the end of the year, all the hard work they have to do, the damage of the car. I am conscious of those things also."

Hamilton believes driving, and winning, in as pure a fashion as possible is the best way for him to prove his quality.

"It's just how my dad raised me," said Hamilton. "He said to always do your talking on the track.

"I was bullied as a kid, both at school but also on track, and we wanted to beat them the right way, not by a car falling off or colliding.

"Then, there is no denying that you're better. I want to be the purest of drivers, through speed, through sheer hard work and determination, so there's no denying at the end what I've accomplished."

Of Verstappen's aggressive approach, Hamilton said: "He's not the only driver I've raced against that's like this.

"I've raced so many drivers in my time and they've all been very different in the way they behave. And it's interesting.

"Now I'm older, I look a little bit deeper into their character and a bit of their background, upbringing. Our upbringing is why we act out the way we do and behave the way we do, good or bad. So I try to understand those so I can have more appreciation of who that character is I am racing with."

The Los Angeles Lakers were without suspended superstar LeBron James and not even a Russell Westbrook triple-double could fuel the title hopefuls as they were beaten 106-100 by the New York Knicks.

James was not on the court because of a ban handed down – the first of his illustrious career – for his ejection against the Detroit Pistons, the four-time NBA champion struck Isaiah Stewart in the face and drew blood, sparking a melee.

Since James joined the Lakers in 2018, the team had been averaging 113.0 points and with a winning percentage of 64.6 when he plays heading into the matchup, while averaging 107.4 points with a 39.7 winning percentage when he does not.

In his absence, former MVP Westbrook had 31 points, 13 rebounds and 10 assists but the Lakers still lost on the road against the Knicks on Tuesday.

Westbrook posted 18 points in the third quarter to tie the game after the Lakers (9-10) had fallen in a 25-point hole, however, the Knicks recovered to beat the storied franchise for the ninth time in 11 games.

Anthony Davis put a pre-game illness aside to battle for 20 points, six rebounds and three assists in 34 minutes.

Julius Randle inspired the Knicks (10-8) with 20 points, 16 rebounds and five assists, while Evan Fournier contributed a team-high 26 points.

 

 

Porzingis achieves career first as Mavs win

For the first time in his career, Kristaps Porzingis (30 points) scored 20 or more points in seven straight games after helping the Dallas Mavericks trump the Los Angeles Clippers 112-104 in over-time.

 

Denver's slide continues as Jokic sits out again

Reigning MVP Nikola Jokic missed his third straight game due to a right wrist sprain and the Denver Nuggets went down 119-100 to the Portland Trail Blazers. The Nuggets have lost five consecutive games – their worst run since a five-game skid in January 2017.

The number one pick in the NBA Draft, it is safe to say Cade Cunningham's rookie season has been a baptism of fire. The first-year Pistons teenager has been criticised for his performances. In a 100-92 loss to the Miami Heat, he was just two-of-10 shooting – making one of seven three-pointers – for six points in 29 minutes, while he had four turnovers.

Los Angeles Lakers star Anthony Davis said he was surprised by the NBA's decision to ban superstar team-mate LeBron James for the elbow that sparked wild scenes against the Detroit Pistons on Sunday.

James jostled with Pistons center Isaiah Stewart at a free throw, with the four-time MVP's left elbow connecting with the latter's face, leaving him bleeding from his right eye and incensed.

Stewart initially appeared calm but lost control, repeatedly charging at James for retribution on court, having to be restrained by team-mates and coaches in Detroit's 121-116 defeat.

The Pistons big man was handed a two-game suspension for his actions, but James was also slapped with a one-game ban for the first time in his illustrious 19-year NBA career after "recklessly hitting Stewart in the face and initiating an on-court altercation".

"I was surprised," Davis told reporters after the Lakers went down 106-100 to the New York Knicks without James on Tuesday.

"I didn't think he was gonna get suspended. I don't think anyone thought he was gonna be suspended to be honest.

"It was an accident. He accidentally hit him in the face. The report came out and said his hit to the face caused an incident. He can't control how a guy is going to react.

"Guys get hit in the face all the time, we're saying that caused the incident? I get hit in my face, I probably won't hit anyone. If I go off and do all that, does the other guy get suspended? It was strange but nothing we can do about it."

Davis had his own drama on Tuesday, making a mad dash to arrive at Madison Square Garden less than an hour before tip-off due to illness, playing 34 minutes for 20 points, six rebounds and three assists.

Lakers head coach Frank Vogel said Davis seemed a "little bit drained" although the NBA champion refused to blame that for the defeat which left the franchise 9-10.

"I don't use my illness as an excuse," Davis said. "I go out there and give it my all. I think we were tied in the fourth. we missed some shots."

After the Lakers fell short despite Russell Westbrook's triple-double, Davis added: "I just woke up not feeling well. Headache, flu symptoms, coughing, fever, body aching, everything. I was in my hotel waiting for my fever to break.

"It was a low-grade fever. I couldn't leave until my fever broke. My fever broke, got in the car and shot straight here. [I arrived] 46-48 minutes from the game clock. I got in and did as much as I can treatment wise, got dressed, went out to play."

The New York Giants fired offensive co-ordinator Jason Garrett following Monday's loss to NFL Super Bowl champions the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

Garrett lost his job on Tuesday after the struggling Giants fell to 3-7 for the season on the back of a 30-10 defeat to Tom Brady's Buccaneers.

The Giants parted ways with former Dallas Cowboys head coach Garrett amid the team's offensive woes in 2021.

"We made a decision to move on from Jason Garrett as the offensive coordinator of the New York Giants," Giants head coach Joe Judge said. "Look, I have a lot of respect for Jason as a person, as a coach.

"He's been a tremendous asset for me as a young head coach. He's helped our development here. He's built very strong relationships in the building with the players, along with other support staff members.

"He's done a good job putting the team first. I have a lot of respect and appreciation for everything he's done for us."

The Giants hired Garrett in January 2020 after he left the Cowboys following nine and a half seasons as coach.

This season, only the Detroit Lions, Jacksonville Jaguars (both eight) and Chicago Bears (seven) have thrown fewer touchdowns than the Giants (10).

The Giants are 25th in the NFL with an average of 18.9 points a game, while they have scored fewer than 20 points five times and have not reached 30 points since October 11 last year in a 37-34 loss in Dallas – their 21-game streak with less than 30 points is the league's second-longest, behind Jacksonville's 24.

Also, the Giants are last in the NFL with a 44.4 red zone touchdown percentage (12 TDs in 27 trips inside the 20).

"I feel we have to be more productive as an offense," Judge said. "Generally speaking, the offense's job is to score points. I don't believe we're scoring enough points.

"It's my job as the head coach to make sure I give our players the opportunity to go out there and make plays."

The Giants – bottom of the NFC East – have not reached the playoffs since a Wild Card defeat to the Green Bay Packers in 2016.

The Tennessee Titans waived veteran running back and seven-time NFL Pro Bowler Adrian Peterson, the franchise announced on Tuesday.

Peterson was signed to the Titans' 53-man roster earlier this month after star running back Derrick Henry's season-ending foot injury.

However, the Titans waived the 36-year-old and 2012 NFL MVP after only three games.

Peterson debuted for the Titans in the 28-16 win over the Los Angeles Rams in Week 9 – he scored with a one-yard touchdown.

The veteran rushed for 82 yards across 27 carries as well as four receptions for eight yards in his three games for the Titans, who are 8-3 for the season and top of the AFC South.

The decision on Peterson was one of 13 roster moves made by the Titans on Tuesday, including adding defensive back Buster Skrine, running back Dontrell Hilliard and outside linebacker John Simo to their active roster.

Klay Thompson is back in full-team practice for the first time in more than two years and believes his return can help the Golden State Warriors win the NBA title.

Thompson was a key member of championship-winning teams in 2015, 2017 and 2018 but sustained an anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) tear as the Warriors' 'three-peat' bid failed against the Toronto Raptors in the 2019 Finals.

The guard then suffered an Achilles tendon injury while recovering, meaning he missed the entirety of two seasons prior to 2021-22.

But Thompson is now close to his long-awaited return, with his 19.5 career points per game and 41.9 per cent three-point shooting set to boost a Warriors team already leading the league.

Back practising alongside his team-mates on Tuesday, Thompson said: "It's so exciting. Just to be running up and down the court and playing basketball, it's truly a blessing and it makes coming to work so easy.

"The boring stuff's behind me and now it's just getting back in game shape. I've got to stay patient because I can be an overeager person to get out there and play, but I'm just incredibly grateful to be out there.

"The work the training staff and I have done over the last two years is really paying off, and it's hard to put into words how grateful I am to be playing basketball again."

After two tougher years following Thompson's injury and Kevin Durant's departure, Golden State are an outstanding 15-2. Only in 2015-16, when they had won each of their first 17 games, have the team enjoyed a better start.

The need for Thompson to return is not as desperate as had been imagined, as Stephen Curry is averaging 28.4 points in an MVP-calibre season while Andrew Wiggins (19.1) and Jordan Poole (18.4) have each also provided consistent scoring.

But adding Thompson into the mix is only going to improve the Warriors' chances, the man himself believes.

"We're 15-2. That's a great indicator of [being able to win a title]," he said.

"And our defence, I think it's top three in the league [allowing 101.1 points per game, ranked first], as well as our offense [scoring 114.2 points per game, also ranked first] – and I'm not even out there yet. Think about that. Really think about that.

"I'm more motivated than ever as well. I want a championship so bad. More than anything."

Warriors head coach Steve Kerr will not rush back his most reliable second man, though, explaining: "We don't have a target date.

"What we have is a number of weeks ahead of us for certain where we're going to play it out, keep letting him scrimmage as often as possible so that he'll build that endurance.

"And I would think within a few weeks we'll be able to finally sort of get a target date, but we don't have one right now."

Chicago Bears head coach Matt Nagy poured cold water over speculation his sacking is imminent, labelling the report inaccurate.

Nagy has found himself under pressure following Chicago's 3-7 start to the NFL season and there have been reports his job is on the line heading into Thursday's clash with the winless Detroit Lions.

A report claimed Nagy's final game would be against the Lions and that he has already been told of the franchise's decision.

Nagy was asked about his future and the particular report on Tuesday, telling reporters: "That is not accurate."

The Bears – beaten by the Baltimore Ravens in Week 11 – have lost their last five games, and they had a six-game losing streak last season.

According to Stats Perform, this is the first time the Bears have endured a five-game or longer losing streak in each of two consecutive seasons since 1997 (seven straight losses) and 1998 (six in a row).

Nagy, who has led the Bears to the playoffs in two of his three full seasons since being appointed in 2018, added: "My focus is on these players and Detroit, and that's it. That's my job as a head coach and a leader, is to do that.

"These players have been amazing. They've been great. You have this quick turnaround after a loss like [Sunday's to the Ravens], and now here you go.

"The only thing we can do is focus on the now and do everything we can. Thursday is going to be here quickly."

China has called for people to stop "deliberately and maliciously hyping up" the Peng Shuai saga.

Two-time grand slam doubles champion was reported to have been missing since making sexual assault allegations against Zhang Gaol, the ex-vice premier and member of the Chinese Communist Party's Politburo Standing Committee, more than three weeks ago.

The Women's Tennis Association (WTA) welcomed pictures that showed Peng on a video call with International Olympic Committee (IOC) president Thomas Bach, but say the images do not alleviate its concerns about her wellbeing.

According to the IOC, Peng said she is "safe and well" in the call on Sunday and the 35-year-old spoke to president Bach for half an hour.

Despite footage released by Chinese state-run media on Saturday purporting to show Peng in a restaurant with friends, followed by images of her at a youth tournament on Sunday, concerns have continued to be raised regarding her safety.

Serena Williams, Naomi Osaka and Novak Djokovic are among many fellow players to have issued a plea for answers over Peng's whereabouts.

Human rights group Amnesty International stated the IOC is "entering dangerous waters" by taking part in a call with Peng and "should be extremely careful not to participate in any whitewash of possible human rights violations."

There was a firm message from China's foreign ministry on Tuesday, declared the issue is "not a diplomatic matter".

"I believe you have all seen that she recently attended some public events and had a video call [with IOC president Bach]," spokesman Zhao Lijian told reporters.

"I think some people should stop deliberately and maliciously hyping [the issue] up, let alone politicise this issue."

 

 

Ash Barty has announced her engagement to Liverpool fan and golfer Garry Kissick, capping a memorable year in style.

Barty added another sparkler to her collection when she revealed an engagement ring on Tuesday, having already landed the glistening Wimbledon trophy and an Olympic medal in the 2021 season.

She posted a picture of herself and Kissick on Instagram, showing off her ring and captioning the shot "Future Husband".

Kissick is a trainee professional at Brookwater Golf Club, a venue close to Brisbane, and is often seen in a Liverpool Football Club shirt, as was the case with the engagement picture.

He and Barty have visited Liverpool's home ground of Anfield together.

Speaking about having the likes of Kissick and coach Craig Tyzzer with her on the road, Barty said during her run to the Wimbledon title in July: "It's nice to be able to share some of these awesome moments with those that put so much time and energy into my career and allow me, encourage me, help me kind of work and figure out a plan and a way that they try and achieve our dreams. I think being able to share that with them is really special."

Barty won a bronze in mixed doubles at Tokyo 2020 alongside long-time friend John Peers, describing that achievement as "a dream come true".

She also won the Yarra Valley Classic, the Stuttgart Open, and WTA 1000 titles at Miami and Cincinnati before calling time on her season after a third-round exit from the US Open, where she lost to Shelby Rogers.

Barty finished the season as world number one for a third successive year, despite her recent inactivity.

She said a major triumph in her homeland was a priority for 2022, saying: "My focus is now on the Australian summer and doing everything I can to win the Australian Open. I can't wait to play at home again."

New York Giants head coach Joe Judge has hit out at his own coaching staff, rather than his players, following Monday's defeat to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

The reigning Super Bowl champions got back on track as Tom Brady led the way with a pair of touchdown passes in a 30-10 rout at Raymond Jones Stadium.

Tampa's victory snapped a two-game losing streak to take them to 7-3 for 2021, after successive road defeats to the New Orleans Saints and the Washington Football Team.

New York (3-7) scored on two of their first three possessions – highlighted by a TD catch by tackle Andrew Thomas – to keep the game tight at 10-10 midway through the second quarter but could not put a point on the board from there as Brady, who completed 30 of 46 passes for 307 yards, stamped his authority on proceedings.

While the Bucs top the NFC South, the Giants are rooted to the foot of the NFC East with a 3-7 record in 2021, and Judge shouldered the blame.

"Credit to the Buccaneers. They're a well-coached team, very talented and obviously deserved to win tonight," he told reporters.

"We gotta do a better job putting our players in position to make plays. We’ve got too many good players, we've got to put them in a better position to capitalise on it.

"That's it. We got to make sure we sit down tomorrow as a coaching staff and understand how we've got to play this game and give our players a chance to make plays.

"In reference to the body language [from the players] at the end of the game, I'll handle the corrections we have to make, but as a player, there'd be some things that I'd be frustrated with as well."

Asked if he believed the coaching was the Giants' main issue, Judge added: "Yeah you can put that down tonight. You guys can write that.

"Now the players have got to execute, that's their job. It's our job to teach them, it's their job to go out and execute. But we've got to make sure we keep putting them in a position to have success."

Brady hit Chris Godwin for a touchdown on the opening drive of the game and teed up Mike Evans for a five-yard score midway through the third quarter. 

Evans' touchdown was the 72nd of his Buccaneers career, breaking the franchise record of 71 previously held by Mike Alstott. 

Ronald Jones ran for another Tampa Bay touchdown and Ryan Succop made all three of his field goal attempts for the Bucs.

After a pair of losses sandwiched around their bye week, it had been nearly a month since the Tampa Bay Buccaneers enjoyed a victory. 

That led to a "lot of bad nights' sleep" for ultra-competitive Tom Brady as he stewed over mistakes made and opportunities lost. 

Even after they got back on track with a 30-10 defeat of the New York Giants on Monday, though, the quarterback and his team-mates did not sound entirely satisfied. 

"I think we've got a long way to go," Brady told ESPN afterward. "Seven games left, so there's a lot of football left.

"The games are bigger because there's fewer of them, and we put ourselves in a decent position but we've got to keep going."

On the heels of defeats against New Orleans and Washington, the Buccaneers (7-3) and little trouble fending off the Giants (3-7), but the reigning Super Bowl champions could have been more efficient. 

While all three of their touchdowns came from deep in Giants territory, the Bucs drove inside New York's 25-yard line three more times but had to settle for field goals. 

"We executed a little bit better," Brady said. "Still left a few out there, I thought, but better.

"Good win for our team, obviously. Losing two straight, that really sucks in the NFL. But glad it's not three straight, glad we won." 

Brady completed 30 of 46 passes for 307 yards with an interception and a pair of touchdown passes, hitting Chris Godwin for a TD on the opening drive of the game and finding Mike Evans for a five-yard score midway through the third quarter. 

Evans' touchdown was the 72nd of his Buccaneers career, breaking the franchise record of 71 previously held by franchise icon Mike Alstott. 

"It's something I dreamed of," Evans told NFL Network. "I've been blessed to have great teammates, good health, and I've worked really hard for it, so I'm proud of it. I'm just happy to be in the same sentence with Mike Alstott."

Only 28 years old, Evans has spent his entire eight-year NFL career with Tampa Bay and reached double digits in touchdown receptions four times. 

With 10 TD catches this year, he is well-positioned to top his career-best mark of 13 in a season established last year. 

Brady said Evans is "amazing, in every way – as a player, teammate, friend, leader. He's just awesome. Love being out there with him, love playing with him. He really sets the tone for that group."

In addition to Evans' steady contributions, the Bucs also benefited from tight end Rob Gronkowski's return to the lineup Monday after playing only five snaps since Week 3 due to a variety of injuries. 

He had six catches for 71 yards against the Giants, and if he can stay healthy he will provide another valuable weapon as Brady and the Bucs gear up for another playoff run. 

"We're at a decent point but we can play a lot better than we've played," Brady said. "I'm hoping our best football is in front of us."

The Memphis Grizzlies scored the final seven points of the game for a stunning 119-118 road defeat of the Utah Jazz on Monday.

After Bojan Bogdanovic made a pair of three-pointers to give Utah a 108-112 lead with 1:28 to play, Ja Morant and Jaren Jackson Jr. combined to make four free throws and Jackson hit the go-ahead three-pointer with 5.7 seconds to play as Memphis (9-8) pulled out the win.

Utah (11-6) missed their final four shots of the game and also turned the ball over twice in the final 20 seconds. 

Morant had 32 points to lead all scorers and added seven assists, while Desmond Bane scored 28 and Jackson finished with 26. 

Bogdanovic led the Jazz with 24 points and Rudy Gobert contributed 23 on nine-of-10 shooting while grabbing a game-high 13 rebounds and blocking five shots. 

 

Durant, Nets hold off Cavaliers

Kevin Durant had 27 points and nine rebounds while James Harden chipped in 14 points and 14 assists for the Brooklyn Nets in a 117-112 road victory over the Cleveland Cavaliers. LaMarcus Aldridge added 21 points on 10-of-14 shooting off the bench for Brooklyn (13-5) as Darius Garland led Cleveland (9-9) with 24 points and 11 assists as he made only nine of 27 shots from the field. 

Tyrese Maxey scored 24 and Andre Drummond collected 23 rebounds as the Philadelphia 76ers (10-8) pulled away in the fourth quarter for a 102-94 defeat of the Sacramento Kings (6-12) despite playing without Joel Embiid, Tobias Harris and Seth Curry. De'Aaron Fox led the Kings with 23 in Alvin Gentry's first game as interim head coach. 

Jaylen Brown scored 19 points in 23 minutes as he returned to the Boston Celtics lineup after missing the previous eight games with a right hamstring strain. Jayson Tatum led all scorers with 30 as the Celtics (10-8) defeated Houston 108-90, sending the Rockets (1-16) to their 15th consecutive loss as they fell to 0-11 on the road. 

The Phoenix Suns held off a late charge by the San Antonio Spurs to prevail 115-111 for their 13th consecutive win. Devin Booker had 23 points to lead the Suns (14-3) while Deandre Ayton added 21 points and 14 rebounds. 

 

Bulls draw blanks from field

The Chicago Bulls entered Monday level with the Nets for the best record in the Eastern Conference but could not find their shooting touch in an ugly 109-77 home defeat against the Indiana Pacers. The Bulls (12-6) made 31 of 85 shots from the field (36.5 per cent), including just six of 28 (21.4 per cent) from three-point range. They scored 30 points in the second quarter but just 47 in the other three combined as Indiana (8-11) built an earl lead, then ran away with it in the second half. 

The reigning Super Bowl champions got back on track Monday as Tom Brady led the Tampa Bay Buccaneers to a 30-10 rout of the New York Giants.

The victory at Raymond James Stadium marked a welcome return to normalcy for the Bucs (7-3), who had dropped successive road games at New Orleans and Washington. They are now 5-0 at home this season. 

Brady completed 30 of 46 passes for 307 yards with an interception and a pair of touchdown passes for Tampa Bay, hitting Chris Godwin for a TD on the opening drive of the game and finding Mike Evans for a five-yard score midway through the third quarter. 

Evans' touchdown was the 72nd of his Buccaneers career, breaking the franchise record of 71 previously held by Mike Alstott. 

Ronald Jones ran for another Tampa Bay touchdown and Ryan Succop made all three of his field goal attempts for the Bucs. 

The Tampa Bay defence forced three turnovers as Giants quarterback Daniel Jones went 23-of-38 passing for just 167 yards with a TD and two interceptions. 

New York (3-7) scored on two of their first three possessions to keep the game tight at 10-10 midway through the second quarter but could not put a point on the board from there. 

Saquon Barkley returned after missing four games with a sprained ankle, but the Giants' star running back managed only 25 yards on six carries. 

 

It took Jaylen Brown a while to get heated up Monday in his first game in two and a half weeks, but the Boston Celtics liked what they saw once he got going. 

Brown returned to the Boston lineup after missing eight games with a right hamstring strain and did his part as the Celtics pulled away from the woeful Houston Rockets in the second half for a 108-90 victory. 

Head coach Ime Udoka said before the game that Brown likely would be limited to 24 minutes, and he ended up playing 23, scoring 19 points on six-of-13 shooting from the field. 

The 25-year-old guard missed his first three shot attempts before sinking a jumper midway through the first quarter, but he did not show signs of his usual self until the second half. 

Midway through the third quarter, Brown embarked on a personal 10-0 run capped by a pair of three-pointers just 24 seconds apart to boost the Boston lead to 72-50. 

"He got warm, then got on that flurry in the third quarter," said Udoka. "To have him back in that third quarter to see what he did was a great sign."

Udoka said Brown "still doesn't feel normal, normal" so the team likely will take care to avoid rushing him back to his typical load of about 36 minutes per game. 

Any contribution figures to be a positive for the Celtics, who have now won three in a row for the first time this season as Jayson Tatum led all scorers with 30 points Monday.

All of the Celtics' big-picture plans include Brown as a key piece, though, so seeing him back on the court was a relief. 

"Once he was able to get a couple baskets, you could just see that he felt more comfortable with everything and he opened up," said team-mate Al Horford. "He's such a good player that he'll find his way."

Robert Williams III also returned to the Boston lineup after missing three games with a knee injury. The big man attempted just one shot from the field, and made it, but made his presence felt by racking up 15 rebounds. 

Andy Dalton is expected to start at quarterback for the Chicago Bears on Thursday as Justin Fields recovers from a rib injury. 

NFL Network reported the short turnaround ahead of the trip to Detroit to face the Lions likely will keep Fields out of action, though Bears head coach Matt Nagy said Monday the team was still "gathering facts". 

Rookie QB Fields got pummelled by the Baltimore Ravens defence in a 16-13 defeat Sunday, leaving in the third quarter with rib problems. 

He had completed just four of 11 passes for 79 yards at the time. Dalton came on in relief and completed 11 of 23 passes for 201 yards and two touchdowns. 

Nagy acknowledged there could be a "safety issue" playing Fields against the Lions but remained vague about the team's plans. 

"‘We always want to make sure that we’re not putting our players at more risk, regardless of who you are," Nagy told reporters Monday.

"Obviously, there’s more magnitude to everybody else — and to us — with Justin. And being the quarterback and touching the football every play and throwing and that sort of thing. So we’ll have to keep that in mind.’’

Quarterback shuffling has been a season-long theme for the Bears (3-7), as the veteran Dalton started the first two games of the season before suffering a knee injury.

Sunday marked only his second appearance since then, as the 22-year-old Fields has had mixed results but generally shown improvement while settling into the starting role. 

The 11th overall pick in this year's draft threw for a career-best 291 yards in Chicago's previous game, a 29-27 loss at the Pittsburgh Steelers. 

The Lions (0-9-1) also are expected to be without their starting QB, as Jared Goff continues to deal with an oblique injury that kept him out of Sunday's 13-10 loss to the Cleveland Browns. 

Tim Boyle likely will start again in Goff's place in the Lions' annual Thanksgiving Day showcase. 

 

 

All-purpose offensive weapon Taysom Hill has agreed to a new four-year contract with the New Orleans Saints. 

Multiple outlets reported the deal, which ESPN says could more than double in value if Hill ends up settling in as the Saints' starting quarterback. 

The 31-year-old is in the final season of his existing two-year, $21million deal and will be paid at a similar rate going forward if he remains a hybrid player for New Orleans. 

He is guaranteed $22.5m but could make up to $40m for staying in his current role or as much as $95m if he takes over as the reguar QB. 

Hill has spent this season as a backup to starting quarterbacks Jameis Winston and Trevor Siemian while also seeing regular time at running back and receiver. 

Injuries have limited Hill's playing time this season. Through seven games, he has rushed the ball 20 times for 104 yards and three touchdowns, caught four passes for 52 yards and completed seven of eight passes for 56 yards with an interception. 

A member of the Saints since the end of the 2017 preseason, Hill saw his most extensive NFL playing time last year. 

He started four games at quarterback in place of the injured Drew Brees, completing 72.7 per cent of his passes for 928 yards with four touchdowns and an interception for the season. He also rushed for 457 yards and eight TDs and caught a touchdown pass.

 

 

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