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Klay Thompson sets NBA record with 37 points in a quarter

Kelley L Cox
USA Today Sports

Welcome to the history books, Klay Thompson

There aren't really any superlatives that can do justice to what the Warriors shooting guard/human flamethrower did in the third quarter against the Sacramento Kings on Friday, so here are the basic facts: 

Thompson scored 37 points in the quarter. 37. Yes, that is an NBA record for points in a quarter. Only 23 players have even scored 37 points in a game this season. He hit 13-of-13 shots in the quarter. 

Nine of those shots were 3-balls. That is absolutely an NBA record for 3-pointers made in a quarter.

Here's what that looks like in short chart form

Sports Illustrated Lays Off Entire Photography Department

Sports Illustrated has laid off the last of its photography staff, the National Press Photographers Association reported Friday.

According to NPPA, the magazine fired its six remaining photographers, John W. McDonough, David E. Klutho, Simon Bruty, Bill Frakes, Al Tielemans and Robert Beck, on Thursday afternoon.

SI's director of photography Brad Smith confirmed the news in a statement to News Photographer magazine, adding that the decision was the result of a company-wide need to "restructure various departments.

"It's true," Smith said. "There was a decision made through the company to restructure various departments, including at Sports Illustrated. Unfortunately economic circumstances are such that it has cut the six staff photographers."

The magazine has undergone layoffs in the past, including hits to its photography staff in 2012.

The layoffs are reminiscent of events at the Chicago Sun-Times, which cut its entire photography staff due to an increasing demand for "multimedia"; some 20 to 30 photographers were dismissed in April 2013.

The timing of the overhaul may seem puzzling ahead of Super Bowl XLIX on Feb 1., but Smith assured that the magazine's dedication to photography will not waver.

"Our commitment to photography hasn't changed," Smith said. "We're still going to cover games, we're going to shoot portraits, we're going to cover Olympics, we'll be at the Final Four, we will be at championships, we'll be there."

The Huffington Post has requested additional comment from Sports Illustrated; this post will be updated if and when a response is received.

Cubs Hall of Famer Ernie Banks passes away at the age of 83

CHICAGO - The Chicago Cubs tonight are saddened to announce that Hall of Famer Ernie Banks, the greatest Cub in franchise history, has passed away at the age of 83.

"Words cannot express how important Ernie Banks will always be to the Chicago Cubs, the city of Chicago and Major League Baseball. He was one of the greatest players of all time," said Tom Ricketts, Chairman of the Cubs. "He was a pioneer in the major leagues. And more importantly, he was the warmest and most sincere person I've ever known.  

"Approachable, ever optimistic and kind hearted, Ernie Banks is and always will be Mr. Cub. My family and I grieve the loss of such a great and good-hearted man, but we look forward to celebrating Ernie's life in the days ahead."

Inducted into Baseball's Hall of Fame in 1977, Ernie played the game he loved as a lifelong Cub for 19 seasons from when he made his debut with the club in 1953 until his retirement in 1971. He was a 14-time All-Star and back-to-back National League Most Valuable Player in 1958 and 1959, when he hit 47 home runs with 129 RBI in 1958 and followed up with 45 home runs and 143 RBI in 1959.

Banks hit 512 home runs in his career, surpassing the 40-home run mark five times in his career, and his 277 home runs as a shortstop remain a National League record to this day.

Banks ranks first in games played (2,528), at-bats (9,421), extra-base hits (1,009) and total bases (4,706); second in home runs (512), RBI (1,636) and hits (2,583); third in doubles (407); fifth in runs scored (1,305); seventh in triples (90); and eighth in walks (763).

Starting while still as a player in 1967, Ernie turned his eye to coaching and served in that role through 1973, becoming the first African American to manage a major league team on May 8, 1973 when he took over for the ejected Whitey Lockman.

Banks became the first player in franchise history to have his number retired in 1982, as his flag flies from the left-field foul pole to this day. He was also voted to Major League Baseball's All-Century Team and honored on the field at the All-Star Game in Fenway Park in 1999.

Beyond his statistics on the field, Banks was famous for his endearing charm and his remarkable wit. He became the first player in franchise history to be honored with a statue at Wrigley Field when he helped with the unveiling at Clark and Addison on March 31, 2008. His statue is adorned with his famous line, "Let's Play Two".

In 2013, Banks was presented with the Presidential Medal of Freedom, an award given to those who have made an especially meritorious contribution to the security or national interests of the United States, world peace, cultural or other significant public or private endeavors. 

Kid Rock Releases Music Video For ‘First Kiss,’ Sounds Off On ‘American Sniper’ Controversy

photo via wyomingnews.com
Kid Rock has released the official music video for his newest single, First Kiss, the lead single and title track of his upcoming album which is set to release on February 24th. It’s the tenth studio album for the Rock and Country music artist, and his first release with his new label Warner Bros. As the producer of the project, the singer said he was truly able to make the record his own, including some notable examples of his Country roots.

First Kiss takes us back to some of Kid Rock’s early beginnings, and from the opening bars of the song, we get the feeling that we’re connecting with him on a personal level. Of the additional singles on the album that highlight Rock’s Country music upbringing, he calls Drinking Beer With Dad “one of the best songs I’ve ever written,” while Jesus and Bocephus pays tribute to Hank Williams Jr., and Johnny Cash honors the marriage between the Country legend and June Carter Cash.

Kid Rock also recently joined the chorus of Country stars like Blake Shelton, Craig Morgan, and Charlie Daniels who fired back against the criticism of the Clint Eastwood blockbuster, American Sniper, which drew the ire of filmmaker Michael Moore and actor Seth Rogen, with Moore calling snipers “cowards” and not heroes, while Rogen compared the picture to a Nazi propaganda film. Needless to say, their comments didn’t make Kid Rock very happy.

Rolling Stone Article:

Filmmakers Michael Moore and Seth Rogen's negative comments regarding the movie American Sniper — a contender for Best Picture at the Oscars next month — have evoked a rather colorful response from self-proclaimed "American Bad Ass" Kid Rock. The musician took particular umbrage with the Bowling for Columbine director's statement that Moore's uncle was killed by a sniper in World War II and that he was raised to believe snipers were cowards.

"Fuck you Michael Moore, you’re a piece of shit and your uncle would be ashamed of you," Kid Rock wrote on his website. "Seth Rogen, your uncle probably molested you. I hope both of you catch a fist to the face soon."
He also paid his respects to the deceased Navy SEAL whose story was the basis of the movie. "God bless you Chris Kyle," he wrote. "Thank you for your service."
On the movie's opening weekend, Moore tweeted his comments and added, "Snipers aren't heroes, and invaders are worse." He later claimed that his tweet wasn't about American Sniper in particular and posted a lengthy Facebook missive to clarify his thoughts.
Regarding his own feelings about the movie, he offered, "Awesome performance from Bradley Cooper. One of the best of the year. Great editing. Costumes, hair, makeup superb!" He also praised the film's "anti-war sentiment" and its "touching" ending. Despite those compliments, he criticized the way the movie's characters call Iraqis "savages" and alleges that Clint confused Iraq for Vietnam with his movie.
Rogen sparked Kid Rock's ire by comparing the movie to the fictional Nazi propaganda film, Nation's Pride, screened within Quentin Tarantino's Inglourious Basterds. He, too, backtracked on his original comments, saying American Sniper only "kinda reminded" him of the Tarantino satire and that he was not comparing them. He made no mention of an uncle.
Kid Rock is readying the release of his upcoming album, First Kiss, the title song of which has come out as a single. The LP is due out late next month.

Read more at http://countrymusicnation.com/kid-rock-releases-music-video-first-kiss-sounds-off-american-sniper-controversy-54503#S803WR06rb0rxQED.99

Barbra Streisand Goes Platinum for Historic 31st Time With 'Partners'

Barbra Streisand Goes Platinum for Historic 31st Time With 'Partners'

Kevin Mazur/Getty Images
Once again, Barbra Streisand is making history.

With her latest album Partners reaching Platinum certification, Streisand extends her record for the most Platinum album certifications for a woman in RIAA history. 

Incredibly, Partners is her 31st album to ship more than 1,000,000 copies in the U.S. The closest competition? Reba McEntire, who has 19 Platinum-certified albums.

Partners debuted at the No. 1 spot on the Billboard 200 in Sept. 2014. It was her 10th album to top that chart, making her the only act to notch a No. 1 album in each of the last six decades.

Her collaborative release ended up the seventh-biggest selling album of 2014 according to Nielsen Music, and her best-selling effort since 2001's Christmas Memories.

Of course for someone with two Oscars, five Emmys, 10 Golden Globes, eight competitive Grammys, two special Grammys and a special Tony, this is just another day in the life of Barbra. 
Still, having 31 albums to reach Platinum status is a nice way to start the week. 

Additional reporting by Keith Caulfield.

NBCU Will Use Super Bowl XLIX Free Live-Stream to Promote Pay-TV Online Services

Jared Wickerham/Getty Images

Peacock's 11-hour block of Internet-streaming video to include pregame and live game coverage, and new episode of 'The Blacklist'

Can the Super Bowl spur digital fans to get super-excited about paying for cable TV?

NBCUniversal will launch an 11-hour free digital video stream — centered around live coverage of this year’s Feb. 1 Super Bowl — in a bid to get users to log in to its “TV Everywhere” services across its broadcast and cable portfolio the rest of the year.

The Peacock’s “Super Stream Sunday” event will include NBC’s presentation of Super Bowl XLIX live from Arizona, pitting the Seattle Seahawks against the New England Patriots, as well as the halftime show toplined by Katy Perry. The live-stream will kick off at 12 p.m. ET on Feb. 1 with NBC’s pregame coverage and concludes with an airing of a new episode of primetime drama “The Blacklist” at approximately 10 p.m. ET.

Ordinarily, access to the NBC Sports Live Extra and NBC.com content requires users to log in using credentials from participating cable, satellite and telco TV providers. The free promo is aimed at driving usage of TVE, to ensure those subscribers keep paying for television service.

“We are leveraging the massive digital reach of the Super Bowl to help raise overall awareness of TV Everywhere by allowing consumers to explore our vast TVE offering with this special one-day-only access,” said Alison Moore, g.m. and exec VP of TV Everywhere for NBCU.

NBC does not have NFL live-streaming rights on smartphone devices, which the league has granted exclusively to Verizon Wireless. As such, the “Super Stream Sunday” content will be available on tablets and desktop computers.

Both NFL.com and SuperBowl.com will link to NBC’s live stream of Super Bowl XLIX for fans in the U.S.; that’s slated to include interactive online and social features created by the league complementing the NBC broadcast of the game. The NFL also will serve up a host of content on NFL 

Now, its digital-only network launched this season, surrounding the Super Bowl.

NBC was the first broadcaster to live-stream a Super Bowl, for Super Bowl XLVI in 2012, and the big game has been offered as a free stream the last two years by CBS and Fox, respectively.

This is the first time NBC will stream the Super Bowl halftime show, after the broadcaster was able to clear digital music rights to the performances, slated to include Katy Perry and Lenny Kravitz. The live-stream will feature ads sold specifically for digital (although some ads airing in the linear TV feed are expected to be in the mix); the Super Bowl spots will also be available online at NBC.com as well as Hulu and YouTube.

To deliver the Super Bowl live stream, NBC Sports will use the same infrastructure it did for its presentation of the 2014 Winter Olympic Games from Sochi, Russia. That includes products and services from Adobe Systems, Akamai Technologies and the Microsoft Azure cloud-computing platform. Rick Cordella, senior VP and g.m. of digital media, NBC Sports Group, said the live Super Bowl stream will be available at variable bit rates ranging between 500 kilobits per second up to 5 megabits per second, delivered as an HLS stream.

Meanwhile, the NFL said live video of the game will not be available to fans in the University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale, Ariz., on Super Bowl Sunday. Instead, the league and Verizon Wireless are launching a Super Bowl Stadium App to provide exclusive in-stadium video content including commercials and replays from four different camera angles.

For users located overseas, the league sells NFL Game Pass, priced at $9.99, which will include the ability to watch Super Bowl XLIX live or on-demand online.

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League probing Patriots' possible use of deflated balls

(Reuters) - The National Football League is investigating whether the New England Patriots used deflated balls in their blowout win over the Indianapolis Colts during Sunday's rain-soaked American Football Conference championship.

NFL spokesman Michael Signora confirmed the investigation on Monday but could not offer further comment when asked by Reuters how many instances are in question and what possible punishment, if any, the Patriots could face.
Patriots head coach Bill Belichik said he did not know anything about the potential issue until Monday.
"We'll cooperate fully with whatever the league wants us to; whatever questions they have for us, 
whatever they want us to do," Belichik told reporters.
According to a report on the NFL's website, a ball was taken off the field and out of circulation during New England's 45-7 win over the visiting Colts that clinched a berth in the Feb. 1 Super Bowl.
Using a deflated ball is presumably done to help players increase their grip, which could have been an issue during Sunday's game that was played in rainy conditions.
According to the NFL report, Patriots quarterback Tom Brady dismissed the claims as "ridiculous" during his Monday morning appearance on Boston radio station WEEI-FM.

"I think I've heard it all at this point," said Brady, who threw three touchdowns in the win. "That's the last of my worries. I don't even respond to stuff like this."

The report also said that if the NFL confirms deflated footballs were used by New England to gain an advantage during the game, it could cost the team draft picks.
The Patriots are no stranger to controversy having been heavily fined by the NFL and docked a first-round draft pick in 2008 for videotaping an opposing team's defensive coaches' signals during a game.

(Reporting by Frank Pingue in Toronto; Editing by Steve Keating)