Knicks out to spoil Brooklyn Nets’ playoff hopes when two teams meet up at the Garden

Spoiler Alert! Jason Smith is usually a pretty benign fellow. But the seven-foot Knicks forward injected a little malice into the Knicks-Nets rivalry when he said the nothing-to-play-for Knicks are now looking to spoil the Nets’ playoff hopes with a win at the Garden on Wednesday. While the Knicks have had little to crow about this season, they were suddenly sticking out their chests on Tuesday with declarations of ruining the Nets season. “We’ve said that in film, we’ve said that in practice, we don’t have a chance of making the playoffs,” Smith said on Tuesday following practice of his 14-60 team. “We know that. We want to make sure that other teams don’t really get that chance either, especially Brooklyn, our hometown rival. "We’re the spoiler this time,” he said, adding, “If we win the game that puts them further out of the playoff picture.” ISOLA: KNICKS MUST TAKE PASS ON INJURED KEVIN DURANT The similarly discreet Cleanthony Early echoed those sentiments. “Things are already messed up (for us),” Early said. “Let’s mess some other things up (for other teams).” The Knicks have nothing to play for with the exception of the NBA Draft lottery. The team has lost seven straight with two weeks left in the season. They already have the most losses in franchise history. They have the worst record in the NBA. They will not make the playoffs. But they can intrude on other team’s chances of making the postseason. Such as the Nets. The Nets (32-40) entered Tuesday’s game with Indiana tied for Boston for the eighth and final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference. A loss to the Knicks on Wednesday would be particularly painful to Brooklyn's postseason hopes with tough games left against Toronto (Friday), Atlanta (Saturday), Portland (Monday), as well as Chicago and Atlanta Continue Reading

A long road to hope: Hard upbringing molded Jets draft pick Lorenzo Mauldin into a man

Minutes after being drafted by the Jets, Lorenzo Mauldin was on the phone, crying. He was talking to reporters after being picked in the third round, and while it’s not unusual for players to be overjoyed when the culmination of their work results in a draft selection, his reaction was different. It was overwhelming, raw emotion. And knowing the journey the outside linebacker from Louisville has gone through, it’s easy to see why. Making it to the NFL is a long shot for any young football player, but few draft picks faced as harsh odds as Mauldin. “I’m still speechless,” Mauldin said, days later. RELATED: JETS DRAFT PICKS CAN PROVE THEY'RE PART OF GANG GREEN Mauldin is originally from Sacramento, Calif., but spent much of his time growing up in Georgia. With both his parents in and out of prison, Mauldin bounced from foster home to foster home to foster home. So many homes that he doesn’t quite remember the exact number, though he thinks it was 12 or 13. “It was pretty rough,” he said. “What he has shared with me is that is that he had good and bad experiences,” said Bart Hester, a mentor of Mauldin’s. “There were times where he felt like some of the foster parents took him in because the state pays them a stipend and were in it, for a lack of a better word, for the money.” Mauldin eventually found his way to Monique Gooden’s home and lived with Gooden twice, the first time when he was 13. Mauldin still maintains a strong relationship with Gooden. “He came from a family of violence. Fighting ... that’s all they knew,” Gooden recalled. “When he and his brother got to me all they did was fight. He had a very short fuse. If anybody said anything to him, he would go off. His temper is what made him bounce around from home to home.” But Gooden said she saw past Mauldin’s temper and knew that he wanted to break out of his Continue Reading

Warren: Republican presidential hopefuls should pray gay marriage issue vanishes by 2016

If you’re a Republican running for President, pray the Supreme Court rules same-sex couples have the right to marry. Yes, the same folks pandering to their anti-gay-marriage base are better off if the issue vanishes by the 2016 election — since they’re also running against the tide of history. That’s why the nine justices who heard arguments on same-sex marriage Tuesday seemed a whole lot more divided than the rest of the country. Some of them, too, are missing the boat. The number of states with same-sex marriage has risen to 36 from 24 in just the two years since the court ruled for Manhattan’s Edith Windsor, now 85, and ditched a federal provision that defined marriage as only a union between a man and a woman. “Either the court kills it as a political issue or it puts more gasoline on the fire,” said John Feehery, a Washington-based GOP strategist and aide to former House Speaker Dennis Hastert (R-Ill.). “I am hopeful that the issue goes away,” he said. “It’s an issue Republicans would like to go away, regardless of what the presidential candidates say in public,” said Patrick Egan, a New York University expert on politics and American institutions. The reason is clear: Most Americans disagree with the often-angry GOP base on this issue. For sure, a sweeping approval of same-sex marriage in 50 states would still lead to pandering. Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush and Sens. Marco Rubio of Florida and Ted Cruz of Texas, among others, would bash “liberal justices” overstepping their bounds. But they would likely then essentially say, “Well, it’s now the law of the land” — and privately breathe a sigh of relief and not look bigoted. Thus, the great irony of Tuesday’s 21/2 hours of arguments: A conservative Supreme Court can unwittingly help the GOP by taking a big, heaping political mess off the table. Continue Reading

‘World’s largest’ sperm bank moves next to University of Central Florida, hoping for ‘ideal’ college donors

The "world's largest" sperm bank is moving next to the University of Central Florida in hopes of tapping into its large pool of perfect potential donors, the company said. Cryos, a privately owned company with offices in New York City and Denmark, is on the hunt for "well-educated, healthy" college students — a lot of whom could benefit from the $750 monthly pay for twice-weekly sperm donations, company spokesman Jim Londeree said. "The biggest factor is that there is a huge donor base here. That's No. 1 by far," Londeree said. The "ideal" man is between 19 and 39 years old and stands at least 5-feet-9, the company said. Cryos, which holds the Guinness World Record for the highest number of pregnancies assisted by donor sperm, will relocate its headquarters to Orlando on April 6. The University of Central Florida boasts having the second-highest student enrollment in the country. It enrolled almost 61,000 students for the 2014-2015 academic year. The company's new location is also near Valencia College, a community college with some 60,000 students, and smaller private institutions including Rollins College and Full Sail University. ON A MOBILE DEVICE? WATCH THE VIDEO HERE. Join the Conversation: Continue Reading

Devils keep playoff hopes alive with 3-1 win over Predators

DEVILS 3, PREDATORS 1 NEWARK, N.J. (AP) — The New Jersey Devils remain hopeful of making a charge to the playoffs. Thank Cory Schneider for that faith. Schneider made 33 saves and the Devils beat NHL-leading Nashville 3-1 on Tuesday night, sending the Predators to their season-worst fourth straight loss. Adam Larsson and Eric Gelinas scored first-period goals in front of a sparse crowd on a snowy night. Mike Cammalleri was awarded a goal with 1:14 remaining in the game when he was hauled down on a breakaway toward an empty net. “I think Cory’s the answer,” Cammalleri said. “We know he’s going to be solid every night. We know what we’re going to get. I can’t say enough about the way he plays and how much he means to this team.” The Devils improved to 6-1-1 in their last eight games. They pulled within seven points of Boston, holder of the second wild-card spot in the Eastern Conference. General manager/co-coach Lou Lamoriello insisted the Devils still had playoff aspirations, even after he dealt away veteran stars Jaromir Jagr and Marek Zidlicky. “We’ve got the same mentality we’ve had right through this process,” Lamoriello said. “Every game is like a playoff game. We take one game at a time, not thinking beyond that. That’s the attitude in that room. That’s the attitude of the coaches.” It’s easier to keep those good vibrations happening when your goalie is playing as well as Schneider. “What more can you ask for from our goaltender?” Lamoriello said. Schneider is 5-1-1 in his last seven starts, including a pair of shutouts. “I think it’s all about confidence,” Schneider said. “When you struggle, you don’t have confidence. Right now, I’m going to work hard to keep mine. I am playing very confident right now, but I don’t want to have a Continue Reading

Gwyneth Paltrow: I hope my kids take over ‘Goop’ in future

Gwyneth Paltrow doesn’t want her family to consciously uncouple from Goop. The actress hopes people will vaguely remember her connection with the lifestyle site in the future, but that it will continue to thrive without her, she said in a recent interview with Bloomberg Television. “I never wanted to do a proprietary brand,” Paltrow, 42, told Stephanie Ruhle on “Market Makers.” “I wanted it to be its own thing that my children can run one day if they want to.” The mother of two also addressed criticisms that Goop, which has been mocked for selling $90 white T-shirts and recommending a set of $5,800 kitchen tools, is out of touch with consumers. “I think there is sometimes a miscommunication,” she said Friday. “We aren’t a super-luxury site but we’re aspirational. We have things on there that cost $4. We have things on there that cost $500.” "I think sometimes that some of the criticism that Goop gets is because people haven't actually gone to the site and looked around to see what we actually are,” Paltrow continued. Goop launched in 2008. ON A MOBILE DEVICE? WATCH THE VIDEO HERE. Continue Reading

Mets hope patience for Juan Lagares turns to leadoff payoff

PORT ST. LUCIE — There was a time when Kevin Long made it is his mission to get Robinson Cano to stop chasing pitches out of the strike zone, to the point where the ex-Yankee second baseman dreaded the feedback after grounding out on a sinker down and away. “Oh, man, he was always on me about it,” Cano recalled with a laugh in 2012, discussing his maturation as a hitter. “We talked so much about it, and we always did the drills. I had to get better at it just so I didn’t have to hear about it from him after I went after a bad pitch. “But I’ll tell you what: I did get better at being more selective and taking walks, and it was because of all the work and all the talking we did. It made me a better hitter.” As the Mets’ hitting coach now, Long hopes to get similar results with Juan Lagares, the free-swinging center fielder. “Juan’s a lot like Cano was as a young hitter,” Long said, “meaning that he’s talented enough that if he swings at a ball out of the strike zone, he tends to be able to get the barrel of the bat to it, but he can’t do damage to it. “If we can get him to zone in on pitches in the strike zone that he can hammer, all of his numbers will go up, because he’s proven he can hit.” The issue is especially significant going into the 2015 season because the Mets have no obvious leadoff hitter, and ideally Terry Collins would like Lagares to fill the role rather than Curtis Granderson. “If we can get Juan to be more of an on-base guy,” Collins said Saturday, “with the fact that he can run the bases, now you’re following up with (Granderson, David Wright, Lucas Duda, Michael Cuddyer, Daniel Murphy), and all the sudden that’s a whole different middle of the lineup." Certainly it would be a deeper lineup if Lagares can lead off. Last year he raised his batting average from .242 in 2013 to .281, but Continue Reading

Tiger Woods has little hope of catching Jack Nicklaus now, but Rory McIlroy has a chance

Tiger Woods spoiled us. He piled up those 14 major wins in such inexorable fashion that the bar was raised to mythical heights. Ah, but if not for Woods, who announced Friday that he would play at Augusta, the golf world would still be agog these days. We’d be talking about young Rory McIlroy as the greatest thing since Jack Nicklaus. The Irishman, who turns 26 in May, comes to Augusta National this week chasing history. If he wins his third straight major at the Masters, he will become the sixth player to complete the career Grand Slam and the second-youngest after Woods, younger than Nicklaus, who sealed his deal at age 26 at the ’76 British Open. GOLA: TIGER SETS RETURN FOR MASTERS, BUT WILL HE REALLY BE ANY BETTER? But, if we take that further, if McIlroy manages to stay healthy, as Woods has been unable to do, it’s not that far-fetched to suggest that, at this point, he has a better chance to win 14 more to get to the Golden Bear’s magic 18, than Woods has of winning four more. After all, when Woods, who is now 39, last won a major, the 2008 U.S. Open; he was just 33. The Nicklaus record seemed on life support then. The jury is now out on whether Woods will ever win another. Nicklaus’ last major win came at age 46. That’s a 13-year window for McIlroy. “I think it’s lost on the fringe fan how Rory is in that very, very rare category of what we’ve seen at 25 years of age by anybody in the history of the sport,” notes CBS’ Jim Nantz. “So the simple math on it, if he can stay healthy . . . we know that’s not the case with Tiger . . . but let’s take him up to age 40, that’s 60 majors. Could he win 10 of the next 60 to one day have Tiger’s 14? Absolutely. I don’t think there’s any question he has that kind of ability. And that still leaves 50 majors for all these other people who want to win.” “If he plays last summer, Continue Reading

Sen. Rand Paul’s wife defends GOP presidential hopeful from critics labeling him a chauvinist

She stands by her man. Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul’s wife, Kelley, stuck up for her spouse on the TV circuit Tuesday, defending the GOP presidential hopeful against critics who label him a chauvinist based on his testy treatment of female reporters. “You always want the person you love to come off the best that they can, so it's hard for me sometimes to see him being criticized, because that's not who he is in terms of his relationships with women,” Paul’s wife said on NBC’s “Today” show. She stressed that Paul, an opthalmologist by training, had a woman as his surgical partner for more than a decade. Paul has been called out for using what detractors have called a dismissive tone in a recent interview with NBC’s Savannah Guthrie and also in a February exchange with Kelly Evans of CNBC. In an appearance on “Fox & Friends,” Kelley Paul said the allegations of sexism against her husband “really upset” her. As a political spouse, “I think that Rand has a great message and I want to support him however I can,” she said, “but in the end, I want us to stay strong as a family.” ON A MOBILE DEVICE? CLICK HERE TO WATCH THE VIDEO. Continue Reading

Chelsea Manning: I hope my fight helps other transgender women prisoners

Chelsea Manning is winning a significant battle as a transgender woman in a jail for men. But it’s not over yet. The U.S. soldier formerly known as Bradley Manning is serving a 35-year sentence for leaking scores of military documents to Wikileaks. Behind bars, she has been pursuing treatment for gender dysphoria, the medical term for people who identify with a different gender than the one they were assigned at birth. In her first interview with the press from prison in Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, Chelsea Manning spoke with me for Cosmopolitan about her lifelong struggle with her gender identity and her quest for medical treatment, which includes hormone therapy and female grooming and clothing standards. The military recently approved some of the treatment-hormones, female underwear, and cosmetics-after she filed a lawsuit. Not approved: long hair. Speaking by mail, per military rules that prohibit telephone or in-person conversations with reporters, the 27-year-old Manning told me that she receives letters from transgender people around the world, from Tennessee to the Netherlands. She is not allowed to communicate with transgender inmates in other prisons, she said, but noted, “I am certainly aware of other cases where trans women are seeking treatment in state and federal facilities. I feel a connection to many of them. But I worry because many of them don’t have access to the same resources as I do. I hope that my fight can help make it easier for them to survive.” Chase Strangio, an ACLU staff attorney who worked with Manning on the lawsuit, said Manning should be allowed “to grow her hair consistent with the standards applied to all other female prisoners” and that there are serious health consequences when parts of the recommended care are denied. “Treatment is a dynamic process, and without the critical component of growing her hair in a manner that communicates to the world her female identity, Chelsea Continue Reading