=== News Summaries from The Sports Network - Thursday, December 25 ===
=== James, Curry lead initial All-Star balloting ===
New York, NY (SportsNetwork.com) - The first ballots are in, and Cavaliers
forward LeBron James holds a slim lead over Warriors guard Stephen Curry for
leading-vote getter for the 2015 NBA All-Star game.
James, an All-Star starter in 10 straight seasons and two-time All-Star MVP,
has accumulated a league-best 552,967 votes, while Curry sits just behind him
with 549,095 votes.
This season's game will be played Feb. 15 at Madison Square Garden.
New York forward Carmelo Anthony (265,170) and Chicago big man Pau Gasol
(247,953) are on pace to start in the frontcourt for the Eastern Conference
next to James. Washington point guard John Wall (299,209) and James' former
teammate with Miami, Dwyane Wade (265,917), lead all East guards.
Pelicans power forward Anthony Davis is third in overall voting with 524,623
votes. Lakers guard Kobe Bryant (521,542) , who passed Michael Jordan for
third on the NBA's all-time scoring list earlier this season, is fourth.
Clippers forward Blake Griffin (307,908) and Grizzlies center Marc Gasol
(227,554) are also on pace to start for the West.
Voting will continue through Jan. 19 and the starters will be announced on
=== Bryant out against Bulls ===
Chicago, IL (SportsNetwork.com) - Los Angeles Lakers star Kobe Bryant cited
"old age" and "sore knees" as his reasons for sitting out Thursday night's
game against the Chicago Bulls.
"It's extremely difficult, especially playing here, playing on Christmas Day
and playing in this city. I love playing here," Bryant said while speaking to
reporters. "The fans have always been great. There's always a lot of energy in
the building. At the same time, I've just got to try to be smart. It's really
going against my nature, but I've got to be smart about this."
The 36-year-old Bryant, who is averaging 24.6 points, 5.1 rebounds and 4.9
assists, did not play in Tuesday's home win over Golden State. Thursday was to
have been his 16th career game played on Christmas Day.
"Old age. My knees are sore at this stage of the season," Bryant commented.
"My Achilles are sore, both of them. My metatarsals are tight, back is tight.
I just need to kind of hit the reset button.
"When I have a couple of days, the body realizes how messed up it is.
Everything else starts hurting."
Bryant currently averages 35.4 minutes played over 27 contests this season,
but his court time will be cut down.
"I'll get back to being healthy like I was at the start of the season," he
=== South Carolina RB Davis to enter NFL Draft ===
Columbia, SC (SportsNetwork.com) - South Carolina junior running back Mike
Davis announced Thursday that his final collegiate game would be against
Miami-Florida at the Independence Bowl on Saturday.
It was expected that Davis would forego his senior season to enter the NFL
Draft. He has rushed 186 times for 927 yards and a team-high nine scores this
"Yes, this will be my last game," Davis confirmed. "You always want to go out
with a bang. I just tell my teammates that I love them. I've enjoyed this long
ride. I knew when it was coming down to it and I had made my decision, I
started bringing a camera in to start recording my last moments with my
teammates - a lot of good moments. I've just enjoyed being around them."
The younger brother of former Clemson standout, James Davis, Mike compiled the
fourth-most single-season rushing yards in South Carolina history in 2013 when
he gained 1,183 yards with 11 touchdowns.
"He's ready to put his best foot forward. I don't think it's a mystery that
Mike's going to take his talents (to the NFL)," Gamecocks running backs coach
Everette Sands said. "He had an up and down year. He's had a lot of good runs
throughout the year and he had some injuries that not allowed him to be at
full speed all the time. He's still put himself in a position for back-to-back
1,000-yard seasons in the SEC, which is not an easy task."
12/26 01:41:41 ET