Kings suspend Cousins after benching
DeMarcus Cousins was suspended indefinitely by Sacramento for ‘‘unprofessional behavior and conduct detrimental to the team.’’ Cousins and Kings coach Keith Smart exchanged words in the locker room during halftime of Sacramento’s 97-85 loss at the Clippers on Friday night. Smart benched Cousins for the second half and ordered him to remain in the locker room. Said Smart after Friday’s loss: ‘‘We’re trying to set a standard here, and when guys move below that standard, things are going to take place. We’ll just move on to the next game and I’ll make some decisions from there.’’ Cousins, drafted fifth overall in 2010, took responsibility for Friday’s incident after the game. Cousins, 22, also was suspended one game without pay by the NBA for striking O.J. Mayo in the groin during a loss at Dallas on Dec. 10. Following a loss at San Antonio on Nov. 9, the league suspended Cousins two games without pay for confronting Spurs announcer Sean Elliott in a ‘‘hostile manner.’’
Celtics’ Melo sets D-League record
Celtics center Fab Melo set a D-League record in Maine’s 85-78 home loss to Erie with 14 blocks as part of a 15-point, 16-rebound triple-double . . . The Mavericks waived Derek Fisher, a move made at the request of the veteran guard. In Tuesday’s win over the 76ers, the 38-year-old strained a tendon in his right knee. In a statement, Fisher said his recovery time will be about two weeks, and that it was difficult for him to be away from his family. In nine games since being signed by Dallas three weeks ago, Fisher averaged 8.6 points and 3.6 assists. . . New Orleans guard Eric Gordon, who has not played this season because of knee surgery, was cleared for contact practice. No timetable has been set for his return.
Ibanez, 40, returns to the Mariners
Raul Ibanez and Seattle agreed to a $2.75 million, one-year contract, a person familiar with the negotiations told the Associated Press. The deal allows Ibanez to earn an additional $1.25 million in performance bonuses, the person said. Ibanez, 40, batted .240 with 19 homers and 62 RBIs last season before a memorable postseason performance for the Yankees. The Mariners drafted Ibanez in 1992; this is his third stint with the team . . . Adam Greenberg is getting a chance to resume his career with the Orioles by signing a minor-league contract. More than seven years after he was beaned in his debut with the Cubs, the 31-year-old outfielder returned to the major leagues with the Marlins for one at-bat in October — a three-pitch strikeout . . . Infielder Ryan Freel, who spent the majority of his eight-year career with the Reds, died at age 36 of what the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office said was a self-inflicted gunshot wound. The Florida Times-Union said the Jacksonville native was named baseball coach at St. Joseph Academy in Jacksonville in June, but later withdrew from the position.
Daly, Fehr speak, but no meetings set
NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly and players’ association special counsel Steve Fehr spoke on the telephone, a spike in communication that has lacked this week between the sides, but still haven’t made plans to meet face to face. Daly and Fehr talked Saturday, the 98th day of the lockout that is threatening to wipe out the entire season.
Messi caps brilliant 2012 with goal
Lionel Messi polished off his record year with his 91st and final goal of 2012, a mark for a calendar year, in Barcelona’s 3-1 win at Valladolid. Expected to win his fourth FIFA Player of the Year award next month, Messi finished 2012 with 79 goals for Barcelona: 59 in the Spanish league, 13 in the Champions League, five in the Copa del Rey, and two in the Spanish Super Cup. He had 12 for Argentina: five in World Cup qualifiers and seven in exhibition games. Messi broke Gerd Mueller’s 40-year-old record of 85 goals for Bayern Munich and Germany . . . Baltimore Ravens linebacker Ray Lewis will probably miss the final two games of the regular season, but may return for a playoff run, NFL.com reported. Lewis, 38, tore his triceps in Week 6 . . . Tomasz Adamek (48-2) outpointed Steve Cunningham (25-5) in a split decision in their International Boxing Federation heavyweight title eliminator in Bethlehem, Pa . . . Freestyle skiers Bryon Wilson and Heather McPhie of the United States won a World Cup dual moguls event in Kreischberg, Austria . . . In Kearns, Utah, Lana Gehring won the 1,000 meters for her third victory in two days at the US short track speedskating championships. Gehring finished in 1 minute, 35.002 seconds. Chris Creveling won the men’s 1,000 . . . The World Anti-Doping Agency suspended Spain’s accredited lab in Madrid from carrying out doping tests for three months. The suspension comes weeks before Madrid submits its final bid to host the 2020 Summer Olympics . . . The MLB, NHL, NFL, NBA, and NCAA are poised to move forward with their legal fight over New Jersey’s plans to allow sports gambling. That comes after a judge rejected arguments Friday that the leagues couldn’t prove they would be harmed if the state proceeds with the plans.