The Rundown for January 8, 2021

CORONAVIRUS UPDATES… The number of confirmed coronavirus cases in the U.S. has reached 21,574,043 and the nation’s death toll stands at 365,208, according to figures released last night by Johns Hopkins University… The COVID Tracking Project reported 1.9 million tests, 266,000 cases, 132,370 hospitalizations and a record 4,033 deaths yesterday. The seven-day average for deaths topped 2,750, also a record. As of yesterday, roughly 6 million people across the U.S. have been given the first of two vaccine shots, with more than 21 million doses distributed nationwide… Pennsylvania yesterday announced its first confirmed case of the infectious coronavirus variant first detected in the United Kingdom. The variant has been found in at least seven other states.

TRUMP PROMISES SMOOTH TRANSITION… President Trump for the first time yesterday acknowledged his loss in November’s presidential election by announcing that “a new administration will be inaugurated on January 20th. My focus now turns to ensuring a smooth, orderly and seamless transition of power.” Trump made the comments in a videotaped message amid growing calls for his resignation or removal following Wednesday’s attack on the U.S. Capitol. Lawmakers are considering invoking the 25th Amendment or impeaching Trump for a second time.

DEATH TOLL REACHES 5 IN CAPITOL ATTACK… The death toll from Wednesday’s storming of the Capitol reached five yesterday with the passing of a U.S. Capitol policeman who was reportedly struck with a fire extinguisher. At least 69 people so far have been charged with crimes related to the siege. Washington, D.C., Mayor Muriel Bowser called on the Joint Terrorism Task Force to investigate “acts of domestic terrorism and sedition.”

RESIGNATIONS CONTINUE FOLLOWING CAPITOL SEIGE… Education Secretary Betsy DeVos and Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao both resigned yesterday in response to the insurrection on Capitol Hill and President Trump’s response to it. Senate Sergeant-at-Arms Michael Stenger and House Sergeant-at-Arms Paul Irving also resigned under heavy criticism. President Trump yesterday withdrew his nomination of Chad Wolf as secretary of homeland security just hours after Wolf urged Trump to condemn the attack.

BOEING TO PAY $2.5B IN 737 MAX SETTLEMENT… Boeing has agreed pay $2.5 billion to settle a Justice Department investigation and admit that employees misled regulators about the safety of its 737 Max aircraft. Two of the planes crashed shortly after the 737 Max entered airline service. The settlement includes money for the crash victims’ families, airline customers and a fine. Prosecutors accused Boeing employees of giving the Federal Aviation Administration misleading statements and half-truths about safety issues with the plane and then covering up their actions.

… Actress Marion Ramsey, who was best known for her work in the “Police Academy” films and the 1978 Broadway production of “Eubie!,” died yesterday at her Los Angeles home. She was 73. Ramsey’s television credits included the variety show “Keep On Truckin’” and “Cos,” with one-off roles on “Beverly Hills, 90210” and “MacGyver.” Ramsey appeared in the first six “Police Academy” movies beginning in 1984.

‘MEAN GIRLS’ WON’T RESUME ON BROADWAY… Producers announced yesterday that the Broadway production of “Mean Girls” won’t resume when productions reopen in New York. However, the show still plans a national tour beginning this summer. The final performance of the popular Broadway show was March 11. The show played 833 performances since opening April 8, 2018.


BROOKLYN 122 – Philadelphia 109
… The Nets cruised past the 76ers despite playing without Kyrie Irving and Kevin Durant. Joe Harris came off the bench and scored 28 points. Caris LeVert had 22 points and 10 assists.

Cleveland 94 – MEMPHIS 90… The Cavaliers came up big in the fourth quarter to get past the Grizzlies. Andre Drummond powered his way to 22 points and 15 rebounds.

Dallas 124 – DENVER 117 (OT)… Luka Doncic scored 38 points and dished off 13 assists as the Mavericks outlasted the Nuggets.

San Antonio 118 – L.A. LAKERS 109… The Spurs got a game-high 28 points from LaMarcus Aldridge in downing the Lakers. Five other players scored in double figures for San Antonio.

PORTLAND 135 – Minnesota 117… The Trail Blazers bombed the Timberwolves 47-27 in the second quarter and coasted to the victory. Damian Lillard poured in 39 points. CJ McCollum tossed in 20 points.

Phoenix is at Detroit…
Boston hosts Washington…
Oklahoma City is at New York…
New Orleans hosts Charlotte…
Orlando is at Houston…
Memphis hosts Brooklyn…
Utah is at Milwaukee…
Golden State hosts the L.A. Clippers…
Chicago is at the L.A. Lakers…
Sacramento hosts Toronto

No. 1 GONZAGA 86, BYU 69…
NO. 5 Iowa 89, MARYLAND 67…
No. 8 WISCONSIN 80, Indiana 73 (2OT)…
No. 12 Illinois 81, NORTHWESTERN 56…
COLORADO 79, No. 17 Oregon 72

MLB NEWS… The New York Mets have acquired shortstop Francisco Lindor and pitcher Carlos Carrasco in a trade with the Cleveland Indians. In exchange, Cleveland gets infielders Andres Gimenez and Amed Rosario, pitcher Josh Wolf and outfielder Isaiah Greene.. The 27-year-old Lindor is a four-time All-Star and considered one of baseball’s best all-around players. He’s a career .285 hitter and averaged 29 homers, 86 RBIs and 21 steals in his six major league seasons. The 33-year-old Carrasco overcame leukemia to become one of the AL’s steadiest starters. He has an 88-73 career record with a 3.73 ERA.

Indianapolis is at Buffalo…
Seattle hosts the L.A. Rams…
Tampa Bay is at Washington

Baltimore is at Tennessee…
New Orleans hosts Chicago…
Cleveland is at Pittsburgh

The Rundown for January 7, 2021

CORONAVIRUS UPDATES… The number of confirmed coronavirus cases in the U.S. has reached 21,295,174 and the nation’s death toll stands at 361,072, according to figures released last night by Johns Hopkins University… At least 52 cases of a coronavirus variant first identified in the UK have been found in the U.S, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. There have been at least 26 cases in California, 22 cases in Florida, two cases in Colorado, and one case each in Georgia and New York.

4 DEAD IN CAPITOL VIOLENCE… A violent and deadly day on Capitol Hill ended early this morning with President-elect Joe Biden move one step closer to being inaugurated on January 20. Lawmakers rejected objections to Arizona and Pennsylvania voting results in certifying Biden’s Electoral College victory in the presidential election. The process was interrupted for hours after mobs of President Trump supporters stormed the Capitol Building and forced police to evacuate members of Congress. Egged on by Tweets from Trump, the mob entered the House and Senate chambers, ransacked offices and vowed further violence. One of the rioters, a woman from San Diego, was fatally shot by police. Metro D.C. police said three other people died as a result of medical emergencies.

VIOLENCE PROMPTS WHITE HOUSE RESIGNATIONS… Two top aides to first lady Melania Trump resigned in the wake of yesterday’s violence on Capitol Hill and top White House officials are reportedly on their way out. Stephanie Grisham resigned as chief of staff to the first lady. White House social secretary, Rickie Niceta, also resigned, as did deputy White House press secretary, Sarah Matthews. National security adviser Robert O’Brien and his deputy, Matthew Pottinger, are among those expected to resign.

OSSOFF PROJECTED AS WINNER IN GEORGIA RACE… Jon Ossoff appears to have followed fellow Democrat the Reverend Raphael Warnock in winning U.S. Senate seats following Tuesday’s runoff elections in Georgia. Ossoff, who ran against Senator David Perdue, was officially projected as the winner yesterday morning, giving Democrats control of Congress and the White House for the first time in a decade. The 33-year-old Ossoff becomes the first millennial to be elected to the Senate. Warnock, the senior pastor of Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta who ran against Senator Kelly Loeffler, was declared the winner Tuesday night.

BIDEN TO PICK GARLAND FOR AG… President-elect Joe Biden is expected to name federal Appeals Court Judge Merrick Garland as his pick for attorney general as early as today. President Barack Obama nominated Garland for the Supreme Court in 2016 but the Republican-held Senate refused the hold a hearing from him. The seat remained open until President Trump filled it with Neil Gorsuch in 2017. Former Alabama Senator Doug Jones and former Deputy Attorney General Sally Yates were believed to be finalists for the post.

… Los Angeles police say Dr. Dre’s home was the target of burglars while the music mogul was hospitalized. Officers responded to a report of an attempted burglary on Tuesday night after reports spread that Dre had suffered a brain aneurysm. Police say four suspects who unsuccessfully tried to enter Dre’s house and were apprehended following a short pursuit.

CLANCY BROWN TO BE VILLAIN IN ‘DEXTER’… Clancy Brown has signed on to the cast of Showtime’s upcoming limited series revival of “Dexter.” Brown will portray Kurt Caldwell, the series’ main villain. The 10-episode revival will take place seven years after the show’s 2013 series finale. “Dexter,” which follows about a serial killer in Miami who works for the police as a blood analyst, originally ran for eight seasons beginning in 2006. Series lead Michael C. Hall is returning as Dexter.


INDIANA 114 – Houston 107
… Malcolm Brogdon knocked down a go-ahead 3-pointer with 2:22 remaining and finished with a career-high 35 points in leading the Pacers past the Rockets. Domantas Sabonis had 22 points and 12 rebounds. Eric Gordon delivered 20 points off the bench.

ORLANDO 105 – Cleveland 94… The Magic shook off a slow start to roll past the Cavaliers. Terrence Ross came off the bench to score 20 points and lead a balanced scoring attack. Orlando lost starting guard Markelle Fultz in the first quarter to a season-ending knee injury.

PHILADELPHIA 141 – Washington 136… The 76ers overcame a 60-point outburst by the Wizards’ Bradley Beal to escape with the victory. Joel Embiid pumped in 38 points to lead Philadelphia. Ben Simmons scored 17 points and dished off 12 assists.

Charlotte 102 – ATLANTA 94… The Hornets jumped out to a 27-11 lead after the first quarter and retained control in their win over of the Hawks. Gordon Hayward poured in a career-high 44 points.

Boston 107 – MIAMI 105… Payton Pritchard’s putback of a Marcus Smart miss with two-tenths of a second on the clock lifted the Celtics over the Heat. Jayson Tatum scored a game-high 27 points. Jaylen Brown had 21 points and 12 boards.

NEW YORK 112 – Utah 100… The Knicks erased a double-digit second-half deficit on their way past the Jazz. Julius Randle had game-highs with 30 points and 16 rebounds. Austin Rivers scored 14 straight points down the stretch and finished with 23 points. Elfrid Payton tossed in 22 points.

MILWAUKEE 130 – Detroit 115… The Bucks built a 26-point halftime lead and never looked back in their thrashing of the Pistons. They got 25 points from Giannis Antetokounmpo and 23 from Kris Middleton.

Oklahoma City 111 – NEW ORLEANS 110… George Hill made the tying and go-ahead free throws with 12.1 seconds left as the Thunder held off the Pelicans. Shai Gilgeous-Alexander led the way with 21 points. Darius Bazley had 20 points and 12 boards.

PHOENIX 123 – Toronto 115… The Suns knocked down 21 3-pointers in downing the Raptors. Devin Booker scored 24 points and Jae Crowder added 21. Deandre Ayton grabbed 16 rebounds to go with his 11 points.

L.A. Clippers 108 – GOLDEN STATE 101… Kawhi Leonard and Paul George scored 21 points apiece as the Clippers fought off the Warriors. George also brought down 12 boards. Serge Ibaka had 12 points and 14 rebounds.

SACRAMENTO 128 – Chicago 124… Buddy’ Hield’s four-point play with 38 seconds left proved to be the difference in the Kings’ win over the Bulls. Richaun Holmes led Sacramento with 24 points. Marvin Bagley III had 21 points and 12 rebounds. Harrison Barnes added 20 points.

Philadelphia is at Brooklyn…
Memphis hosts Cleveland…
Dallas is at Denver…
the L.A. Lakers host San Antonio…
Minnesota is at Portland

No. 2 BAYLOR 76, Oklahoma 61…
No. 7 CREIGHTON 89, Seton Hall 53…
No. 9 TENNESSEE 79, Arkansas 74…
No. 10 MICHIGAN 82, No. 16 Minnesota 57…
No. 11 HOUSTON 70, Wichita State 63…
LOUISVILLE 73, No. 19 Virginia Tech 71…
No. 21 DUKE 83, Boston College 82…
No. 22 VIRGINIA 70, Wake Forest 61

The Rundown for January 5, 2021

CORONAVIRUS UPDATES… The number of confirmed coronavirus cases in the U.S. has reached 20,817,140 and the nation’s death toll stands at 353,483, according to figures released last night by Johns Hopkins University… The nearly 78,000 deaths in December made it the deadliest month of the pandemic so far. Health officials warned that even more people will likely die in January despite the rollout of vaccines… A Reuters analysis found that Arizona, Tennessee and South Carolina reported the most new cases per capita last week. Kansas, Wyoming and New Mexico were the hardest hit states in terms of deaths per capita… Health officials in New York have confirmed the state’s first case of the coronavirus variant that was initially discovered in the United Kingdom. The strain has also been found in California, Florida and Colorado.

GEORGIA SENATE RACES… Voters in Georgia will be heading to the polls today to cast their vote in a pair of U.S. Senate runoff races that will determine which party carries the majority. President Trump and Vice President Mike Pence visited the state yesterday to campaign for Republican candidates David Perdue and Kelly Loeffler. President-elect Joe Biden hosted a rally for Democratic challengers Jon Ossoff and David Warnock in Atlanta.

DEMS SEEK INVESTIGATION OF TRUMP GEORGIA CALL… Two House Democrats have asked FBI Director Christopher Wray to open a criminal investigation into President Trump’s leaked phone call with Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger. The hour-long recording released on Sunday captures Trump begging Raffensperger to overturn Georgia’s results from the 2020 presidential election based on unfounded claims. Trump asks Raffensperger “to find” enough votes for him to erase his deficit in the state and warns of criminal liability if he fails to do so. In a letter to FBI Director Christopher Wray requesting the probe, California Congressman Ted Lieu and New York Congresswoman Kathleen Rice claim, “The evidence of election fraud by Mr. Trump is now in broad daylight,” citing U.S. and Georgia codes prohibiting criminal solicitation to commit election fraud and refusing to count accurate votes.

PROUD BOYS LEADER ARRESTED… Washington, D.C., police yesterday arrested the leader of the white nationalist Proud Boys organization on charges of destruction of property and illegally possessing high capacity magazines. The arrest of 36-year-old Enrique Tarrio came in advance of a pro-Trump demonstration scheduled for tomorrow in the nation’s capital. Tarrio has admitted to stealing and burning a “Black Lives Matter” banner hanging outside the historic Asbury United Methodist Church during an anti-BLM rally last month. He says he intends to plead guilty.

OFFICIALS PREPARE FOR TROUBLE IN KENOSHA… Wisconsin Governor Tony Evers has mobilized 500 National Guard members to help officials in Kenosha prepare for potential unrest. Tensions are running high in the city as prosecutors decide whether Officer Rusten Sheskey will face charges in the shooting of Jacob Blake last August. An announcement on the decision is imminent. Blake, who is Black, was shot several times in the back by a white Kenosha officer who was responding to a domestic dispute. The shooting was captured on video and sparked three nights of violent protests.

… Former James Bond girl and “That 70s Show” star Tanya Roberts is reported to be in dire condition but not dead, as was widely reported on Sunday. The exaggerated claim of her passing stemmed by a press release issued by Roberts’ spokesperson. The press release quoted Roberts’ husband in announcing her death at age 65. Roberts, who starred alongside Roger Moore in the 1985 Bond film “A View to a Kill,” remains in intensive care at a Los Angeles hospital after collapsing at her home on Christmas Eve.

IRS WANTS MORE TAXES FROM PRINCE ESTATE… The IRS believes Prince’s estate owes another $32.4 million in federal taxes after an investigation showed that executors of the rock star’s estate undervalued it by 50 percent, or about $80 million. Investigators determined that Prince’s estate is worth $163.2 million, compared with the $82.3 million valuation submitted by the estate administrator, Comerica Bank & Trust. The discrepancy primarily involves Prince’s music publishing and recording interests, according to court documents. Prince died on April 21, 2016 of a fentanyl overdose.


ORLANDO 103 – Cleveland 83
… The Magic bombed the Cavaliers 38-28 in the third to take control for good. Aaron “Gordon scored 24 points and grabbed 11 rebounds. Nikola Vucevic added 23 points.

PHILADELPHIA 118 – Charlotte 101… All five starters scored in double figures as the 76ers cruised past the Hornets. Tobias Harris led the way with 22 points.

New York 113 – ATLANTA 108… The Knicks came on strong in the fourth quarter to put away the Hawks. Julius Randle scored 28 points and brought down 17 boards. R.J. Barrett added 26 points and 11 rebounds.

MIAMI 118 – Oklahoma City 90… The Heat scored 20 straight points in the second quarter and blew away the Thunder. Bam Adebayo scored 20 points to lead a balanced scoring attack.

Boston 126 – TORONTO 114… The Celtics shook off a slow start to roll past the Raptors. Jayson Tatum poured in 40 points.

Dallas 113 – ATLANTA 100… The Mavericks used a fourth-quarter spurt to put away the Hawks. Luca Doncic racked up 33 points, 16 rebounds and 11 assists.

MILWAUKEE 128 – Detroit 115… Giannis Antetokounmpo erupted to score 43 points in leading the Bucks past the Pistons. Five other players scored in double figures for Milwaukee.

Indiana 118 – NEW ORLEANS 116 (OT)… Malcolm Brogdon scored a go-ahead basket with 1.7 seconds left and finished with 21 points and 11 assists as the Pacers outlasted the Pelicans. Victor Oladipo led Indiana with 25 points.

GOLDEN STATE 137 – Sacramento 106… The Warriors built a big lead early and never looked back in their thrashing of the Kings. Stephen Curry scored a game-high 30 points.

New Orleans is at Brooklyn…
Memphis hosts the L.A. Lakers…
Minnesota is at Denver…
the L.A. Clippers host San Antonio…
Chicago is at Portland

No. 14 West Virginia 87, OKLAHOMA STATE 84

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 31, 2020

CORONAVIRUS UPDATES… The number of confirmed coronavirus cases in the U.S. has reached 19,740,471 and the nation’s death toll stands at 342,312, according to figures released last night by Johns Hopkins University… The nation’s leading infectious disease expert, Dr. Anthony Fauci, said yesterday that he foresees America regaining “some semblance of normality” by autumn 2021, despite early setbacks in the vaccine rollout. During an online discussion that included California Governor Gavin Newsom, Fauci said it will take until next fall to achieve enough collective COVID-19 immunity through vaccinations. Newsom, meanwhile, announced that the more infectious coronavirus variant originally found in the United Kingdom has been detected in his state. Newsom said the coronavirus variant B.1.1.7 had been confirmed earlier in the day in a Southern California patient.

BIDEN NOMINATIONS… President-elect Joe Biden added two more nominations to the
Pentagon staff yesterday. Biden’s transition team announced that Kathleen Hicks has been nominated for deputy secretary of defense and Colin Kahl as undersecretary of defense for policy. If confirmed, Hicks would be the first woman to hold the position. She is currently a senior vice president and director of the international security program at the Center for Strategic and International Studies.

UN EXPERTS SAY TRUMP PARDONS VIOLATED LAW… A panel of independent United Nations experts yesterday concluded that President Trump’s pardon last week of four former Blackwater Worldwide mercenaries violates U.S. obligations under international law and urged member states to condemn the action. The four men were convicted of killing 14 Iraqis and injuring 17 others during an attack on Nisour Square in 2007. Nicholas Slatten was convicted of first-degree murder and Paul Slough, Evan Liberty and Dustin Heard were convicted of voluntary and attempted manslaughter. Slatten was sentenced to life while the other three received at least 12-year-imprisonment orders.

MICHIGAN APPROVES FLINT TRUST FUND… The creation of a trust fund to distribute a $641 million settlement to residents affected by the Flint water crisis was approved yesterday by Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer. The governor signed a pair of bills that authorize the state to issue bonds to cover the settlement. The state agreed to settle in August. The crisis began in 2014 when Flint changed its water source in a cost-cutting move and high levels of lead started showing up in people’s drinking water. An investigation revealed officials failed to apply corrosion inhibitors leading to aging pipes leaching lead into the water supply, exposing residents to toxic contamination.

CENSUS BUREAU STRUGGLES AT DEADLINE… The U.S. Census Bureau acknowledged yesterday that it does not expect to meet today’s deadline to produce population counts used to allocate seats in Congress. The bureau said in a statement yesterday that it will continue to process the data it has collected since October and plans to “deliver a complete and accurate state population count for apportionment” in early 2021. The Census Bureau didn’t specify a date but vowed to deliver the data “as close to the statutory deadline as possible.”

… Actress Dawn Wells, who was best known for playing Mary Ann in the 1960s sitcom “Gilligan’s Island,” died died in Los Angeles of causes related to COVID-19. She was 82. After “Gilligan’s Island” completed its three-season run in 1967. Wells continued her role in three made-for-TV sequel movies that aired between 1978 and 1982. The former Miss Nevada who competed in the 1959 Miss America pageant also had television roles in “77 Sunset Strip,” “Maverick,” “Bonanza,” “The Joey Bishop Show,” “Hawaiian Eye,” “The Wild Wild West” and “ALF.”

BIDENS TO RING IN NEW YEAR… President-elect Joe Biden and incoming First Lady Jill Biden are planning to ring in the new year tonight as part of “Dick Clark’s New Year’s Rockin’ Eve” on ABC. The Bidens will sit down with Seacrest for their final interview of 2020 before transitioning into the White House next month. The event will be hosted by Ryan Seacrest will feature performances by Jennifer Lopez, Megan Thee Stallion, Miley Cyrus, Brandy and Billy Porter.


BOSTON 126 – Memphis 107… Jaylen Brown poured in a career-high 42 points and the
Celtics made it 10 straight wins over the Grizzlies. Brown was 7-of-10 from beyond the arc.

BROOKLYN 145 – Atlanta 141… Kyrie Irving scored 17 of his 25 points in the fourth quarter as the Nets surged past the Hawks. Kevin Durant had 33 points and 11 rebounds. Joe Harris tossed in 23 points. Jarrett Allen delivered 15 points and 13 boards off the bench.

MIAMI 119 – Milwaukee 108… The Heat topped the Bucks just 24 hours after losing to them by 47 points. Goran Dragic came off the bench and scored 26 points. Bam Adebayo dropped in 22 points. Tyler Herro finished with 21 points and 15 rebounds.

Charlotte 118 – DALLAS 99… Rookie LaMelo Ball scored 22 points to lead the Hornets in their rout of the Mavericks. Miles Bridges racked up 20 points and 16 boards.

L.A. Lakers 121 – SAN ANTONIO 107… The Lakers used an 11-0 first-quarter run to shake off an early deficit and take the lead for good in their win over the Spurs. LeBron James led the way with 26 points on his 36th birthday. Dennis Schroder added 21 points and Anthony Davis tossed in 20. Spurs’ assistant coach Becky Hammon became the first woman to direct an NBA team when she took over for Gregg Popovich following his second-quarter ejection.

L.A. CLIPPERS 128 – Portland 105… Kawhi Leonard returned from a two-game absence and scored 28 points in leading the Clippers in their romp over the Trail Blazers. Paul George added 23 points.

Cleveland is at Indiana…
Washington hosts Chicago…
Philadelphia is at Orlando…
Houston hosts Sacramento…
New York is at Toronto…
Oklahoma City hosts New Orleans…
Phoenix is at Utah

Wisconsin 42, Wake Forest 28 in the Mayo Bowl…
No. 6 Oklahoma 55, No. 7 Florida 20 in the Cotton Bowl

No. 2 BAYLOR 105, Alcorn State 76…
No. 7 Tennessee 73, No. 12 MISSOURI 53…
No. 23 Virginia 66, NOTRE DAME 57…
No. 25 OHIO STATE 90, Nebraska 54

The Rundown for December 30, 2020

CORONAVIRUS UPDATES… The number of confirmed coronavirus cases in the U.S. has reached 19,556,927 and the nation’s death toll stands at 338,561, according to figures released last night by Johns Hopkins University… A more infectious strain of the coronavirus that prompted an uptick of cases in the United Kingdom has officially arrived in the U.S. Colorado Governor Jared Polis revealed yesterday that state health officials found a case of COVID-19 variant B.1.1.7 in a male patient in his 20s who had no travel history. There is no evidence yet that B.1.1.7 is deadlier or vaccine-resistant… NBC News has reported that the coronavirus vaccination effort in the U.S. is seriously behind schedule. At the current rate, it would take nearly 10 years for enough Americans to be vaccinated to stop the spread of the virus, the network says. The slightly more than 2 million people who have received the first dose of the vaccine in the U.S. so far is well below the 20 million that the Trump administration promised to have done by the end of the year.

McCONNELL BLOCKS RAISED STIMULUS PAYMENTS… Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell yesterday blocked a bipartisan effort to quickly pass a measure to increase direct stimulus payments from $600 to $2,000. Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer sought to pass the change to the omnibus spending bill through a unanimous consent request on the Senate floor, but McConnell objected. The House passed the increase to stimulus payments on Monday. The measure could be scheduled for another vote in the Senate at a later date. Meanwhile, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin announced that the Department of Treasury and the Internal Revenue Service would begin delivering the $600 payments as early as last night through direct deposit, with paper checks being mailed out today.

CONGRESSMAN-ELECT DIES OF COVID… Louisiana congressman-elect Luke Letlow died yesterday after a short battle with Covid-19. The 41-year-old Letlow had announced his diagnosis on his Facebook page on December 18. Democratic Gov. John Bel Edwards ordered that flags in the state be flown at half-staff on the day of Letlow’s funeral. A new representative for Louisiana’s 5th Congressional District will be determined by special election.

SAUDI ARABIA ARMS SALE APPROVED… The Trump administration yesterday approved a possible $300 million arms sale to Saudi Arabia. The State Department’s Defense Security Cooperation Agency gave its okay on the sale of 3,000 Boeing-made GBU-39 Small Diameter Bomb I Munitions and related equipment to the ally Middle Eastern country for $290 million. The State Department said the munitions will increase Saudi Arabia’s stock of long-range, precision air-to-ground munitions that will improve the nation’s “capability to meet current and future threats.”

DOJ CLOSES TAMIR RICE INVESTIGATION… The Justice Department announced yesterday that it has closed its civil rights investigation into the fatal 2014 shooting by Cleveland police of Tamir Rice and that no federal criminal charges would be brought in the case. The announcement came five years after an Ohio grand jury cleared two Cleveland officers of state charges in the death of Rice, a 12-year-old youth who was shot in a playground while holding a pellet gun. Both officers are white.

… A total of 39 holiday songs dominate this week’s Billboard Hot 100 chart, including nine holiday tunes in the Top 10. Mariah Carey’s “All I Want for Christmas Is You” holds the top spot for the fifth time. Brenda Lee’s “Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree” follows in second place. Bobby Helms’ “Jingle Bell Rock,” Burl Ives’ “A Holly Jolly Christmas” and Andy Williams’ “It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year” are also in the top five.

‘DANCING’ CHAMP BATTLING COVID… Recently crowned “Dancing with the Stars” champion Kaitlyn Bristowe is battling Covid-19, she announced on social media yesterday. Bristowe, an alum of “The Bachelor” franchise, said she and her her boyfriend Jason Tartick had been quarantining before the holidays but the one person they allowed to come visit was carrying the virus. Tartick was a contestant on “The Bachelorette.”


New York 95 – CLEVELAND 86
… The Knicks built an early double-digit lead and held off the Cavaliers. Julius Randle racked up 28 points, 12 rebounds and 11 assists.

Golden State 116 – Detroit 106… Stephen Curry pumped in 31 points and Andrew Wiggins scored 17 of his 27 points in the fourth quarter as the Warriors put away the Pistons.

Boston 116 – INDIANA 111… The Celtics rallied from 17 points down in the third quarter to take down the Pacers. Jayson Tatum scored a game-high 27 points and grabbed 11 boards.

PHILADELPHIA 100 – Toronto 93… Joel Embiid had game-highs with 29 points and 15 rebounds in leading the 76ers past the Raptors. Tobias Harris added 26 points and 11 boards.

Chicago 115 – WASHINGTON 107… Zach ZaVine scored nine straight points during a third-quarter surge and the Bulls dealt the Wizards their fourth straight loss. Wendell Carter Jr. had 12 rebounds to go with his 10 points.

Milwaukee 144 – MIAMI 97… The Bucks made an NBA-record 29 3-pointers in their bombing of the Heat. Kris Middleton led the way with 25 points. Jrue Holiday added 24 points.

Orlando 118 – Oklahoma City 107… The Magic handled the Thunder to win their fourth straight at the start of the season. Nikola Vucevic scored 28 points and pulled down 10 boards.

PHOENIX 111 – New Orleans 86… The Suns took over with a big second quarter and built a 39-point lead through three quarters in their thrashing of the Pelicans. Jae Crowder scored 21 points to lead six players in double figures.

L.A. CLIPPERS 124 – Minnesota 101… Lou Williams came off the bench to score 20 points and lead seven players in double figures as the Clippers cruised past the Timberwolves.

SACRAMENTO 125 – Denver 115… The Kings used a big fourth quarter to rally past the Nuggets. They got points from De’Aaron Fox and 20 from Richaun Holmes. Five other players scored in double figures.

Memphis is at Boston…
Brooklyn hosts Atlanta…
Milwaukee is at Miami…
Dallas hosts Charlotte…
the L.A. Lakers are at San Antonio…
the L.A. Clippers host Portland

No. 21 Oklahoma State 37, No. 18 Miami 34 in the Cheez-It Bowl…
No. 20 Texas 55, Colorado 23 in the Alamo Bowl

Wisconsin plays Wake Forest in the Mayo Bowl…
No. 6 Oklahoma plays No. 7 Florida in the Cotton Bowl

No. 1 GONZAGA 112, Dixie State 67…
No. 2 BAYLOR 93, Central Arkansas 56…
TULSA 65, No. 5 Houston 64…
No. 9 WEST VIRGINIA 73, Northeastern 51…
No. 10 IOWA 87, No. 19 Northwestern 73…
No. 14 RUTGERS 81, Purdue 76…
CLEMSON 77, No. 18 Florida State 67…
No. 23 TEXAS TECH 79, Incarnate Word 51…
No. 24 VIRGINIA TECH 80, Miami 78

COLLEGE BASKETBALL NEWS… The University of Arizona announced yesterday that it is self-imposing a one-year postseason ban on its men’s basketball program. The decision follows the NCAA investigation stemming from the 2017 federal investigation into corruption in college basketball and college basketball recruiting. Former Arizona assistant coach Emanuel “Book” Richardson pleaded guilty to one felony count of conspiracy to commit bribery after being accused of accepting $20,000 to steer Arizona players to aspiring sports agent Christian Dawkins and financial advisers close to Dawkins.

MLB NEWS… The San Diego Padres made it official yesterday in announcing the acquisitions of pitchers Blake Snell from Tampa Bay and Yu Darvish from the Chicago Cubs. San Diego also announced the signing of infielder Ha-seong Kim from the Korea Baseball Organization. The deals follow the Padres’ first postseason appearance in 14 years.

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 24, 2020

CORONAVIRUS UPDATES… The number of confirmed coronavirus cases in the U.S. has reached 18,445,655 and the nation’s death toll stands at 326,088, according to figures released last night by Johns Hopkins University. There were 232,342 new cases and 3,401 deaths, Worldometer reported… Tennessee has emerged as the newest transmission hotspot after averaging nearly 128 new infections per 100,000 people over the last week. California’s 111 new cases per 100,000 residents was second… The Centers for Disease Control said yesterday that more than 1 million people nationwide have been given the first of the two doses required for the two coronavirus vaccines that have been approved. However, it could take six months or more before most Americans are eligible for the shots.

TRUMP VETOES DEFENSE BILL… President Trump cited provisions to rename Confederate-honoring military bases and aired other grievances in vetoing the annual defense spending bill yesterday. The National Defense Authorization Act carried bipartisan support in passing both houses of Congress earlier this month with veto-proof majorities. Democrats and Republicans both objected to the veto and vowed to override it. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said the House would return next Monday for a vote.

TRUMP ISSUES NEW ROUND OF PARDONS… President Trump last night announced 26 new pardons that cover loyal political allies and lower-profile recipients. Former Trump campaign adviser Roger Stone, former campaign chairman Paul Manafort and White House senior adviser Jared Kushner’s father, Charles, headed the list of those who received pardons. Earlier this year, Trump commuted Stone’s sentence for obstruction of Congress and threatening a witness days before he was set to surrender. Manafort spent close to two years in prison for bank and tax fraud, illegal foreign lobbying and witness tampering conspiracies before being released to home confinement due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Kushner pleaded guilty to 16 counts of tax evasion, one count of retaliating against a federal witness and another count of lying to the Federal Election Commission.

FBI BLAMES IRAN FOR ELECTION INTIMIDATION… The FBI is blaming Iran for creating a website to sow discord in the U.S. following the last month’s presidential election. The FBI released a statement yesterday claiming it has “highly credible information” that identifies Iranian cyberactors as being “almost certainly” responsible for the creation of the Enemies of the People website that listed personal information and photographs of U.S. election officials and workers in calling for their deaths. Threatening emails were also sent to officials from email accounts associated with the website, which is no longer active.

CHRISTMAS WEATHER… Severe storms bringing rain, gusty winds and snow are on the forecast for much of the nation through Christmas. Heavy snows were expected in parts of Minnesota, Wisconsin, Iowa and Nebraska. Forecasters called for rain and damaging winds from the eastern Carolinas northward. South Florida is preparing for its coldest Christmas in 26 years.

… John “Ecstasy” Fletcher, who was a founder of the pioneering hip-hop trio Whodini, has died of undisclosed causes. He was 56. Ecstasy formed Whodini with Jalil Hutchins in Brooklyn, New York, in 1982. DJ Grandmaster Dee joined four years later. The trio had hits with “The Haunted House of Rock,” “Friends” and “Freaks Come Out at Night.” Whodini received the Hip Hop Icon Award at the third annual Black Music Honors in 2018.

MOUNTAIN GUITARIST DIES… Leslie West, a hard-metal guitarist best known for performing the song “Mississippi Queen” with his band Mountain, died of cardiac arrest in Florida yesterday morning, his brother confirmed. He was 75. “Mississippi Queen” was released on Mountain’s 1970 debut album, “Climbing!” The previous summer, the band performed between Canned Heat and the Grateful Dead on the second day of the Woodstock festival. After Mountain broke up in the early ’70s, West continued recording with different versions of the band, producing solo albums and touring.


CLEVELAND 121 – Charlotte 114
… The Cavaliers used a big second quarter to build a 21-point halftime lead and coasted past the Hornets. All five starters scored in double figures, led by Colin Sexton’s 27 points. Darius Garland added 22 points. Andre Drummond finished with 14 points and as many rebounds.

INDIANA 121 – New York 107… Domantas Sabonis pumped in a career-high 32 points and Victor Oladipo 16 scored of his 22 points in the second half of the Pacers’ win over the Knicks. Malcolm Brogdon tossed in 21 points.

ORLANDO 113 – Miami 107… The Magic used a fourth-quarter surge to get past the Heat. Evan Fournier led the rally and finished with 25 points. Aaron Gordon added 20 points.

PHILADELPHIA 113 – Washington 107… Joel Embiid powered his way to 29 points and 14 boards in leading the 76ers past the Wizards. His go-ahead basket with 1:09 remaining gave Philadelphia the lead for good.

BOSTON 122 – Milwaukee 121… Jayson Tatum banked in a fallaway, go-ahed 3-pointer with less than a second remaining to lift the Celtics over the Bucks. Milwaukee’s Giannis Antetokounmpo missed a tying free throw with four-tenths of a second left. Tatum finished with 30 points. Jaylen Brown lit it up for 33 points.

New Orleans 113 – TORONTO 99… The Pelicans came on strong in the second half to erase an 11-point deficit and knock off the Raptors in Tampa. Brandon Ingram scored 24 points to lead all scorers. J.J. Redick converted a 4-point play with just over a minute left and finished with 23 points.

Atlanta 124 – CHICAGO 104… The Hawks scored 83 first-half points in building a 32-point lead through three quarters in routing the Bulls. Trae Young scored 37 points as all five starters scored in double figures.

San Antonio 131 – MEMPHIS 119… The Spurs shook off a slow start to get past the Grizzlies. They got 29 points from DeMar DeRozan and 21 points from Dejounte Murray. Ja Morant’s 42 points weren’t enough for Memphis.

MINNESOTA 111 – Detroit 101… The Timberwolves rallied in the fourth quarter to put away the Pistons. Malik Beasley led a balanced scoring attack with 23 points. Karl-Anthony Towns had 22 points and 11 rebounds.

Sacramento 124 – DENVER 122 (OT)… Buddy Hield’s tip-in of a Harrison Barnes miss at the buzzer sent the Kings past the Nuggets. Hield led Sacramento with 22 points. Barnes and De’Aaron Fox tossed in 21 points apiece.

Utah 120 – PORTLAND 100… Rudy Gobert and Donovan Mitchell scored 20 points apiece as the Jazz blasted the Trail Blazers. Gobert also grabbed 17 boards. Five other players scored in double figures for Utah.

Dallas 106 – PHOENIX 102… Devin Booker scored 22 points to lead six players in double figures as the Suns held off the Mavericks. Dallas’ Luca Doncic tallied a game-high 32 points in a losing effort.

HOUSTON – Oklahoma City (ppd)… Last night’s Rockets-Thunder game was postponed after Houston had fewer than the league-required eight players available. Three Rockets players have returned tests that were either positive or inconclusive for the coronavirus under the NBA’s testing program. Four other players are quarantined under contact-tracing protocol and Chris Clemons is out with a ruptured Achilles tendon.

No games scheduled

No. 5 Villanova 85, MARQUETTE 68…
No. 8 TENNESSEE 80, South Carolina Upstate 60…
No. 23 OHIO STATE 80, No. 11 Rutgers 68…
No. 13 CREIGHTON 66, No. 22 Xavier 61…
No. 18 Illinois 98, PENN STATE 81