The Baltimore Sun

Arenas: If Wizards finish last, that's not so bad


Gilbert Arenas is already thinking about the possibility of a last-place finish for his Washington Wizards - and finding the silver lining. With Arenas still working his way back from a third knee operation in 1 1/2 years, the Wizards are off to a 1-8 start heading into their game tonight against the Houston Rockets. "I don't want to see them struggle," Arenas said yesterday at Madame Tussauds, where his wax figure was unveiled, "but if this is one of those years where we don't make the playoffs or we finish in last place ... that's what happened to San Antonio and that's how they got Tim Duncan and look at them now ... and that's for the better." The Wizards haven't given a timetable for when their All-Star point guard might begin practicing or playing this season. Arenas, who signed a six-year, $111 million contract in the offseason, is targeting the start of 2009.

Celtics 98, Pistons 80: : Rajon Rondo had 18 points and eight assists, outplaying recent Detroit acquisition Allen Iverson and leading Boston to a victory over the visiting Pistons in a rematch of last season's Eastern Conference finals. Iverson had 16 points and four assists for Detroit, which fell to 4-3 since he was acquired from Denver for Chauncey Billups and Antonio McDyess. Boston's Kevin Garnett scored 15 in his return from a one-game suspension.

Wednesday night: : Greg Oden had 11 points, 10 rebounds and three blocks in his home debut for Portland, and the Trail Blazers built a 30-point lead in the first half in rolling to a 116-74 victory over Chicago.

In last LPGA event, Sorenstam trails by 6


Annika Sorenstam shot a 2-over-par 74 in the opening round of the LPGA ADT Championship in West Palm Beach, Fla., good for a tie for 23rd in the 32-woman event, her final LPGA Tour appearance before "stepping away" from competitive golf. The field gets trimmed to 16 after play today, meaning Sorenstam has some work remaining just to reach the weekend. Otherwise, her tour career will come to an unceremonious end. She finished six shots behind leader Katherine Hull (68). "I was a little nervous. I feel like I'm playing good. I'm excited about the week," said Sorenstam, a four-time ADT winner. "But I'm telling you, nothing went my way today."

PGA Pebble Beach Invitational: : John Cook shot a 10-under 62 to take a three-stroke lead over Brad Martin after the first round in Pebble Beach, Calif. Cook, 51, one of eight Champions Tour entrants in the tournament that features players from the four major tours, had 11 birdies and one bogey.

Crew's Schelotto named MLS MVP; Donovan 2nd


The Columbus Crew's Guillermo Barros Schelotto, a midfield wizard who was a longtime star in his native Argentina, won Major League Soccer's Most Valuable Player award. Schelotto, 35, had 19 assists and seven goals for Columbus as the Crew bounced back from a 9-11-10 record the previous year to finish with an MLS-best 17-7-6 mark. Schelotto outpolled runner-up Landon Donovan of the Los Angeles Galaxy. Donovan led the league with 20 goals.

Et cetera: : Bayern Munich is hoping to sign Donovan on a loan deal similar to the one David Beckham has reached with AC Milan, and possibly longer. Bayern coach Juergen Klinsmann said Donovan has discussed a loan deal with the MLS that would start in January and extend 2 1/2 months through the league's break. Donovan has spent 10 days practicing with Bayern and will return home today. Beckham also plays for the Galaxy. ... South Africa set aside an extra $140 million to cover World Cup stadium cost overruns. Specifics on the spending were not announced.

Blaze at Kentucky barn kills 27 horses

et cetera

A pre-dawn blaze raced through a barn at a former racetrack in western Kentucky, killing 27 horses and wiping out the dreams of at least one owner. It was the second deadly fire in less than a year at Riverside Downs outside Henderson, Ky., near the Indiana border. Investigators did not know the cause. Among the horses killed were Kept Lady, a winner at Churchill Downs on Sunday, and another 3-year-old filly owned by Kenny Miller. The horses killed included one that survived the blaze but had to be euthanized. Four others in the barn at the time survived. About 70 horses remain at Riverside, a former quarter horse and harness track now used to stable and exercise horses, co-owner Mark Bowling said.

WNBA: : Coach Bill Laimbeer has been re-signed to a two-year contract by the league champion Detroit Shock. Terms were not disclosed. The two-time NBA champion as a member of the Detroit Pistons guided the Shock this summer to its third title during his seven years as coach.

Olympics: : The U.S. Olympic Committee ended the probation of USA Boxing, citing progress made in reforming the organization that develops boxers to compete in the Olympics. USA Boxing was placed on probation in 2002 and underwent a restructuring in 2006 to bring it more in line with the national governing bodies for other Olympic sports.

NHL: : Alex Ovechkin extended his goal streak to five games and added three assists, sending the Washington Capitals to a 6-4 victory over the host Anaheim Ducks on Wednesday night. ... Yesterday, Ducks defenseman Francois Beauchemin underwent surgery to repair a torn anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee. He is expected to be sidelined about six months. ... St. Louis Blues defenseman Erik Johnson, out for the season after injuring his knee during a team golf outing in September, had surgery to repair a damaged ligament.

Football:: Montreal Alouettes quarterback Anthony Calvillo was selected the Canadian Football League's Outstanding Player for the second time in six seasons.

Cycling: : Race organizers said the 2010 Tour de France will start in Rotterdam, Netherlands.

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