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Nov. 28, 2012 at 11:00 PM
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Wizards win for first time this season

WASHINGTON, Nov. 28 (UPI) -- Emeka Okafor put Washington in front with 39 seconds to play Wednesday and the Wizards held on to win for the first time this season, 84-82 over Portland.

The Wizards had lost their first 12 games of the campaign to establish a franchise record for worst start to a season. The all-time NBA record for consecutive losses to start a season will remain in the hands of the Brooklyn Nets, who as the New Jersey Nets began with 19 straight three years ago.

Washington appeared to be cruising to a victory when it built a 79-64 lead with 8:56 remaining, but the Trail Blazers then ran off 15 straight points to tie it.

The game was knotted at 82-82 when LaMarcus Aldridge fouled Okafor and the Washington center hit both free throws.

Portland then missed its final two shots and the Wizards survived despite turning the ball over twice in the final 30 seconds.

Jordan Crawford scored 19 points for Washington, which held Portland to 34 percent shooting. Trevor Ariza added 14.

Nicolas Batum and Damian Lillard both had 20 for the Trail Blazers, who have lost three straight.

Spurs improve NBA's best record

ORLANDO, Fla., Nov. 28 (UPI) -- Manu Ginobili came off the bench to score 20 points Wednesday and lead San Antonio to another road victory with a 110-89 decision over Orlando.

It was San Antonio's fifth road game in eight days and the Spurs have won them all while boosting the NBA's best record to 13-3. San Antonio will conclude its grueling trip with a game in Miami on Thursday.

The Spurs have lost just one of their 10 road games this season.

San Antonio closed the first period on a 19-4 run to take command and held the Magic scoreless during a 3-minute stretch early in the second half while building an 18-point lead.

Ginobili made 6-of-9 from the field as part of the Spurs' 53-percent shooting effort. Gary Neal added 19 points and Tim Duncan had 15 for San Antonio, which also has wins over Boston, Indiana, Toronto and Washington on its current trip.

Arron Afflalo scored 16 points to pace Orlando, which has dropped its last two games.

NHL talks resume with mediators present

WASHINGTON, Nov. 28 (UPI) -- An attempt to salvage some part of the National Hockey League season began Wednesday with federal mediators sitting in on the discussions.

Neither the league nor the player's union would comment on how the talks went Wednesday, but both sides said there would be another round of meetings Thursday.

"A small group of NHLPA staff and players met today with two experienced FMCS [Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service] mediators," union chief Don Fehr said. "We expect that these discussions will resume on Thursday."

This was the first time mediators had joined the negotiations, which have netted no results since the current lockout of players began on Sept. 16. The two sides had not met in a week.

All scheduled regular-season games have been canceled through Dec. 14 -- a total of 422 contests.

The NHL is trying to avoid its second lost season in eight years.

'Anchored' belly putters under microscope

THOUSAND OAKS, Calif., Nov. 28 (UPI) -- U.S. and British golf governing bodies proposed a ban on "anchored" strokes, in which a club is held against the body such as in the use of "belly" putters.

The U.S. Golf Association and the Royal and Ancient Golf Club said Wednesday they would take comments over the next three months regarding anchored strokes. If enacted the change would enter the Rules of Golf in 2016.

At issue is use of so-called belly putters, extra long clubs some players brace against their bodies when putting. The clubs themselves wouldn't be banned but "anchoring" the club against a player while making a shot would be.

Three of the past five major tournament champions use such putting strokes.

The proposal, if accepted, would be listed under Rule 14-1b as: "In making a stroke, the player must not anchor the club, either 'directly' or by use of an 'anchor point.'"

The proposal defined "directly anchored" as a player intentionally holding the club or a gripping hand in contact with his or her body other than the other hand or forearm; and said an "anchor point" exists when a player intentionally holds a forearm in contact with any part of his or her body to establish a gripping hand as a stable point around which the other hand make swing the club.

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