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Anthony leads Nuggets over Timberwolves 129-100

Timberwolves Nuggets Basketball

Anthony leads Nuggets over Timberwolves 129-100

DENVER – Carmelo Anthony had 24 points, and Arron Afflalo added 20 to lead the Denver Nuggets to a 129-100 preseason win over the Minnesota Timberwolves on Tuesday night.

Kenyon Martin had 11 points and seven rebounds for the Nuggets, who had seven players score in double figures.

Corey Brewer led the Timberwolves with 23 points, Ryan Gomes had 16 and rookie Jonny Flynn scored 13.

Anthony, who played only 23 minutes against Minnesota, is averaging a point per minute in the preseason.

The Nuggets (3-3) used a big second quarter to pull away in their first preseason home game against an NBA team. Afflalo and Renaldo Balkman came off the bench in the period to score 10 points each, sparking Denver’s 38-19 run that produced a 69-47 halftime lead.

Denver stretched its advantage to 97-74 heading into the fourth when rookie point guard Ty Lawson hit a running 45-foot bank shot at the buzzer.

The Timberwolves (1-5) played without center Al Jefferson, who is bothered by a sore Achilles’ tendon. He sat out the fourth quarter of Saturday’s game against Milwaukee.

Minnesota was also without big man Kevin Love, who will be sidelined 6-to-8 weeks due to a broken left hand.

The Nuggets trailed by nine midway through the first quarter before rallying to take a 28-26 on Anthony’s three-point play. After Ryan Hollins tied it with a putback, J.R. Smith hit a 3-pointer with 0.3 seconds left in the quarter to give Denver the lead for good.

Denver’s only other home preseason game was a 102-70 win over Partizan Belgrade on Oct. 3.

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Deadly wildfire surges closer to Los Angeles

California Wildfires

Deadly wildfire surges closer to Los Angeles

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LOS ANGELES – A deadly wildfire destroyed more than four dozen homes as it blackened a wide swath of tinder-dry Southern California forest, forced thousands of residents to flee and burned dangerously close Monday to a vital mountaintop broadcasting complex.

Fire crews battling the blaze in the Angeles National Forest tried desperately to beat back the flames and prayed for weather conditions to ease. The fire was the largest of at least eight burning across California after days of triple-digit temperatures and low humidity.

The fire scorched 164 square miles of brush, destroyed 53 homes and threatened more than 12,000 others, but the lack of wind kept them from driving stormily into the hearts of the dense suburbs northeast of Los Angeles.

The 53 homes destroyed included some forest cabins, said U.S. Forest Service spokesman Dennis Cross. He did not have an immediate breakdown on how many of the structures were full-time residences.

Columns of smoke billowed high into the air before dispersing into a gauzy white haze that burned eyes and prompted warnings of unhealthy air throughout the Los Angeles area. Smoke could be seen billowing around the fabled Hollywood sign.

“It’s burning everywhere,” U.S. Forest Service spokeswoman Dianne Cahir said. “When it gets into canyons that haven’t burned in numerous years, it takes off. If you have any insight into the good Lord upstairs, put in a request.”

The exact number of people injured or threatened by the fire was still not clear. Among those evacuated were Los Angeles Dodgers shortstop Rafael Furcal and his wife from their home in La Canada Flintridge. Furcal was given the day off for Monday’s home game against Arizona.

Over the weekend, three people who refused to evacuate were burned when they were overrun by flames, including a couple who had sought refuge in a hot tub, authorities said.

Authorities revised an earlier report that five people were trapped in a canyon near Gold Creek. They later said five men and one woman refused several orders to evacuate the remote ranch.

“When we tried to get them out, they said they’re fine, no problem, they didn’t want to leave,” said fire spokesman Larry Marinas.

Fire crews set backfires and sprayed fire retardant at Mount Wilson, home to at least 20 television transmission towers, radio and cell phone antennas, and the century-old Mount Wilson Observatory. The observatory also houses two giant telescopes and several multimillion-dollar university programs. It is both a landmark for its historic discoveries and a thriving modern center for astronomy.

If the flames hit the mountain, cell phone service and TV and radio transmissions would be disrupted, but the extent was unclear. The blaze killed two firefighters who died when their truck drove off the side of a road with flames all around them.

The victims were fire Capt. Tedmund Hall, 47, of San Bernardino County, and firefighter Specialist Arnaldo “Arnie” Quinones, 35, of Palmdale. Hall was a 26-year veteran, and Quinones had been a county firefighter for eight years.

Quinones’ wife is expecting and due to give birth to their first child in the next few weeks. Hall and his wife have two boys, ages 20 and 21, and was described as a family man who loved riding motorcycles.

They died fighting a fire that showed no signs of subsiding Monday. People who fled returned to find their homes gone.

“It’s the worst roller coaster of my life, and I hate roller coasters,” said Adi Ellad, who lost his home in Big Tujunga Canyon over the weekend. “One second I’m crying, one second I’m guilty, the next moment I’m angry, and then I just want to drink tequila and forget.”

Ellad left behind a family heirloom Persian rug and a photo album he put together after his father died. “I’m going to have to figure out a new philosophy: how to live without loving stuff,” he said.

The blaze in the Los Angeles foothills is the biggest but not most destructive of California’s wildfires. Northeast of Sacramento, a wind-driven fire destroyed 60 structures over the weekend, many of them homes in the town of Auburn.

The 275-acre blaze was 50 percent contained Monday afternoon and full containment was expected Tuesday. It wiped out an entire cul-de-sac, leaving only smoldering ruins, a handful of chimneys and burned cars.

Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger toured the Auburn area, where only charred remnants of homes remained on Monday. At some houses, the only things left on the foundation are metal cabinets and washers and dryers.

“It was embers traveling in the wind, landing on the roofs, landing on attics, getting into that home and burning the home on fire,” said Daniel Berlant, spokesman for the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection.

Some mandatory evacuation orders were lifted, but most residents are still being told to stay away while crews work to restore electricity and hose down embers.

East of Los Angeles, a 1,000-acre fire threatened 2,000 homes and forced the evacuation of a scenic community of apple orchards in an oak-studded area of San Bernardino County. Brush in the area had not burned for a century, fire officials said. Flames burning like huge candles erupted between rocky slopes of the San Bernardino Mountains and the neat farmhouses below.

With highs topping 100 degrees in some areas and humidity remaining low, the National Weather Service extended a weekend warning of extreme fire conditions in the central and Southern California mountains.

Winds were light, which prevented the flames from roaring at furious speed into towns. In 2003, a wind-whipped blaze tore through neighborhoods in San Diego County, killing 15 people and destroying more than 2,400 homes. That fire burned 273,000 acres — or 427 square miles — the largest in state history.

Overall, more than 2,500 firefighters were on the line. A fleet of helicopters and air tankers dumped water and retardant over the flames during the day.

In La Crescenta, where the San Gabriel Mountains descend steeply into the bedroom suburb a dozen miles from downtown Los Angeles, 57-year-old Mary Wilson was experiencing her first wildfire after nine years of living in a canyon. Her family was evacuated twice in the past five days, she said.

“We saw the flames. My daughter got really scared,” she said. But she was philosophical: “You have to surrender to the natural forces when you choose to live up here. It’s about nature doing its thing.”

Also in La Crescenta, dispatchers overnight activated a “reverse 911” system that sent a recorded evacuation warning to people, but it turned out to be a mistake.

Whaling, the L.A. County fire captain, says the message applied to only a small number of residents closest to the fire but instead a large number got the sleep-shattering calls. He said he does not know how many people were involved in the call.

“They pushed the wrong button,” he said.

Terry Crews, an actor promoting the new movie “Gamer” on KTLA-TV, talked about being forced to flee two days ago from his home in Altadena, in the foothills above Pasadena. He saw 40-foot flames, grabbed his dog and fled.

“I’ve never seen anything like it,” he said. “I’m from Michigan. I’m used to tornadoes … but to see this thing, you feel helpless.”

“This is like ‘The Ten Commandments,'” he said, referring to the movie. “You go, ‘holy God, the end of the world.'”

An animal sanctuary called the Roar Foundation Shambala Preserve, six miles east of Acton, was in the mandatory evacuation zone, but fire officials decided removing the animals would be “a logistical nightmare,” said Chris Gallucci, vice president of operations.

“We have 64 big cats, leopards, lions, tigers, cougars. … The animals are just walking around, not being affected by this at all,” Gallucci said. “But if we panic, they panic. But we are not in panic mode yet.”

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Rodgers’ long throws lead Packers over Rams

Packers Rams Football

Rodgers’ long throws lead Packers over Rams

ST. LOUIS – Aaron Rodgers threw two touchdown passes and ran for another, and the Green Bay Packers sent the St. Louis Rams to their 13th straight loss — now the longest streak in the NFL — with a 36-17 victory Sunday.

Rodgers was 13 for 23 for 269 yards in the first road game of the season for Green Bay (2-1). After being sacked a league-high 10 times in the first two games and playing behind a patchwork offensive line, Rodgers was sacked just twice, both times in the first quarter by Leonard Little.

The Rams (0-3) have lost 30 of 35 since the start of the 2007 season. With Detroit‘s 19-14 win over Washington ending the Lions’ 19-game skid, St. Louislosing streak is now the longest.

Rodgers and Greg Jennings hooked up on passes of 50 and 53 yards that set up touchdowns for Green Bay. Rodgers had a 46-yard pass to Donald Driver that set up another score, and he scored on a 4-yard run.

“It’s the big plays on defense that kill you and the turnovers — we didn’t get any takeaways,” Rams coach Steve Spagnuolo said after his first home game since taking over as coach.

Jennings’ two catches were all he had, but they combined for a 103 yards. Driver had four catches for 95 yards and a touchdown. Ryan Grant carried 26 times for 99 yards.

“Big plays equal points in this league,” Packers coach Mike McCarthy said. “We say it every week. It was evident today.

“We have the ability to play that way.”

Kyle Boller, who played three quarters after Marc Bulger bruised his shoulder, was 16 for 31 for 164 yards, two touchdowns and an interception for St. Louis. Steven Jackson carried 27 times for 117 yards and had five catches for 46 yards.

Bulger was 3 for 4 for 23 yards before he was hurt on a sack late in the first quarter.

Sloppy play put the Rams in an early hole, with Green Bay’s Mason Crosby kicking first-quarter field goals of 48, 38 and 25 yards. The first was set up by a blocked field goal, the second by Aaron Kampman’s sack of Bulger at the St. Louis 15 — apparently the play on which Bulger was hurt — and the third on Jackson’s fumble at the St. Louis 11 on the first play of the next possession.

The Packers made it 16-0 in the second quarter, the key play Rodgers’ long pass to Driver to the St. Louis 30. Fullback John Kuhn scored three plays later on a 1-yard run.

Boller replaced Bulger and gave life to the Rams, who had scored just seven points in the previous two games. He threw second-quarter touchdown passes of 16 and 19 yards to backup tight end Daniel Fells.

Sandwiched between those scores was another Green Bay touchdown on a 21-yard pass from Rodgers to Driver, set up by a 50-yard pass to Jennings.

The Rams got within six on Josh Brown’s 53-yard third quarter field goal, but Rodgers and Jennings combined for a 53-yard pass play early in the fourth quarter, and Rodgers ran untouched from the 4 four plays later to make it 29-17.

After an interception, Green Bay scored on Rodgers’ 10-yard pass to Kuhn late in the fourth quarter.

NOTES: The sellout crowd appeared to be made up largely of Rams fans, unlike the last time the teams met here in 2007, when the mix was closer to 50-50. … Spagnuolo said further evaluation will be needed before he knows if Bulger, WR Laurent Robinson (ankle) and S James Butler (knee) will miss any time. … The Rams retired the No. 75 of Los Angeles Rams great Deacon Jones in a ceremony prior to the game.


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