Steelers Down Ravens Late, Clinch AFC North
(Pittsburgh, PA) — Ben Roethlisberger and Antonio Brown hooked up for the winning score with nine seconds left as the Steelers downed the Ravens, 31-27, in Pittsburgh to lock up the AFC North title. Roethlisberger threw for 279 yards, three touchdowns and two interceptions as the Steelers won their sixth straight. Brown finished with 10 catches for 96 yards and a score, while Le’Veon Bell rushed for and caught a TD in the win. Kyle Juszczyk’s [[ YOOZ-check ]] 10-yard touchdown run with 1:18 left put the Ravens up by three. Joe Flacco threw for 262 yards, a score and a pick as Baltimore dropped to 8-and-7 and was eliminated from playoff contention.
Chiefs Blow Out Broncos To Clinch Playoff Spot
(Kansas City, MO) — The Chiefs are heading back to the playoffs. The Chiefs cruised to a 33-10 rout of the Broncos on Christmas night in KC. Alex Smith threw for 244 yards and a score, while Travis Kelce caught 11 passes for 160 yards and a touchdown. At 11-and-4, the Chiefs can capture the AFC West title with a win at the Chargers and a Raiders loss to Denver next Sunday. Trevor Siemian was just 17-of-43 for 183 yards and an interception for Denver. The defending Super Bowl champion Broncos have been eliminated from playoff contention.
Cowboys Clash With Lions
(Arlington, TX) — A pair of first place teams meet on “Monday Night Football” as the Dallas Cowboys clash with the Detroit Lions at AT&T Stadium. The 12-and-2 Cowboys clinched the division title and the top seed in the NFC playoffs following Philadelphia’s win over the Giants on Thursday. Ezekiel Elliott is the league’s leading rusher with 1,551 yards and needs 258 more to break Eric Dickerson’s rookie record. The Lions saw their four-game winning streak come to an end with a 17-6 loss at the Giants last week. At 9-and-5, Detroit now leads the NFC North by just one game over Green Bay. The Lions will host the Packers in the season finale.
Celtics Hold Off Knicks
(New York, NY) — The Celtics blew a late lead, but a last-minute Marcus Smart three-pointer lifted them past the Knicks, 119-114, at Madison Square Garden. Isaiah Thomas put up 27 points for Boston, with Kelly Olynyk and Jae Crowder each scoring 16. The Celtics have won five of their past six games. The Knicks reeled off a 11-2 run late in the fourth quarter, but couldn’t complete the rally. Carmelo Anthony scored 29 points and Derrick Rose put up 25 in defeat.
Cavaliers Rally To Stun Warriors
(Cleveland, OH) — Kyrie Irving nailed the winning jumper with 3.4 seconds left as the Cavaliers rallied to stun the Warriors, 109-108, in Cleveland. Irving finished with 25 points, 10 assists, seven steals and six rebounds as the Cavs erased a 14-point fourth-quarter deficit. LeBron James put up 31 points and 13 rebounds for Cleveland, which jumped to 23-and-6. Kevin Durant led the Warriors with 36 points and 15 rebounds. Golden State shot just 9-of-30 from beyond the arc in defeat.
Spurs Crush Bulls In Christmas Matchup
(San Antonio, TX) — LaMarcus Aldridge led the way with 33 points and nine rebounds as the Spurs crushed the Bulls 119-100 at the AT&T Center. Kawhi Leonard posted a double-double, scoring 25 with 10 boards in the winning effort. The Spurs have won three straight and 11 out of 13. Tony Parker had 13 points and Pau Gasol dropped 12 on his former team. Chicago was paced by Dwyane Wade with 24 points in defeat. The Bulls have lost nine-of-12 and fell to 14-and-16 overall.
Thunder Rock Timberwolves
(Oklahoma City, OK) — Russell Westbrook went for 31 points, 15 assists and seven rebounds in the Thunder’s 112-100 Christmas Day win over the Timberwolves in Oklahoma City. Thunder big man Enes Kanter came off the bench to score 20 points on 8-of-10 shooting, while Steven Adams made 9-of-12 shots to tally 22. OKC has won three in-a-row to improve to 19-and-12. Karl-Anthony Towns had a team-high 26 points in the loss. Andrew Wiggins chipped in 23 for the T’wolves, who are 9-and-21.
Lakers Battle Past Clippers
(Los Angeles, CA) — The Lakers took down a depleted Clippers team, 111-102, at the STAPLES Center to conclude the NBA’s five-game Christmas Day slate. LA was without Chris Paul for a second straight game due to a hamstring injury, and J.J. Redick had to leave after 26 minutes due to a hamstring issue. The Lakers had seven players in double figures, including 19 from Timofey Mozgov and Nick Young. The Lakers ended a four-game losing streak. Redick and Mo Speights each had a team-high 22 points in defeat. The Clippers have lost two straight.