LOS ANGELES, Calif. Tyrone Calico . - After back-to-back road losses, Chris Paul thinks all the Clippers needed was a confidence boost. They got just what they needed with a 113-91 victory over the Detroit Pistons on Monday night.Its crazy. When you play so many games, you think the team doesnt play off confidence. But I think we just needed to see again what it was like to defend and see the ball go through the net at the other end — and to win, Paul said. I think our spacing was a little better than the last two games, but our defence was better also. Hopefully we can start another streak now.Blake Griffin scored 18 points, DeAndre Jordan had 16 points and 15 rebounds, and Paul had 11 points and eight assists, committing one turnover in 24 minutes after getting six in each of his previous two games. Jamal Crawford shot 0 for 6 from the field.J.J. Redick ended up with 14 points, hitting his first five shots, and his streak of 29 games with a 3-pointer ended one game shy of teammate Matt Barnes franchise record.He didnt get the ball as much because they started paying more attention to him, Im sure, coach Doc Rivers said. So give them credit. They made pretty good adjustments.Detroits Jodie Meeks had 20 points in his third game of the season after missing the first 22 because of a stress reaction in his lower back.I felt like I got into a rhythm, Meeks said. It is only my third game back, so I have to take it day by day — and shoot it with confidence when I am open.Andre Drummond added 18 points and 13 rebounds for the Pistons, who were coming off road wins against Phoenix and Sacramento after losing 13 straight.The Clippers, coming off back-to-back road losses against Washington and Milwaukee, led the Detroit 55-44 at halftime. Griffin set up a pair of alley-oop dunks by Jordan 68 seconds apart, capping a 16-4 run that turned a one-point deficit into a 47-36 lead with 4:41 left in the second quarter.Los Angeles extended its lead to 73-53 on a four-point play by Barnes, who was fouled by Kyle Singler on a jumper with 4:57 left in the third quarter. The Pistons got no closer than 16 points after trailing by 27.We quit getting stops, so we could not run, Pistons coach Stan Van Gundy said. They shot the ball very well, moved the ball very well, and we could not keep up. They totally tore our defence apart.Griffins final basket was a 3-pointer with 27.8 seconds left in the third. With the lead secure, Griffin sat out the fourth quarter.Van Gundy received a technical foul with 7:34 left in opening quarter after Brandon Jennings was called for a foul, and Drummond got one about 2 minutes later for complaining about a non-call under the Pistons basket.___TIP-INS:Pistons: All five of their victories have come against teams that entered Monday nights games with losing records. Last season, 19 of their wins were against clubs that finished under .500, and 10 were against teams that ended up with winning records — including one each against division champions San Antonio, Indiana and Miami. ... The Pistons havent shot 50 per cent or better from the field in any of their first 25 games. Last season they did it 11 times (8-3). ... Drummond has 81 double-digit rebound games since the start of last season, the second-most in the league during that stretch behind Jordans 94.Clippers: The Clippers have beaten Detroit eight straight times — their third-longest active winning streak against one club behind Utah (11) and Minnesota (10). ... Prior to their 104-98 win on Nov. 26 at Detroit, the Clippers were 3-12 against teams coached by Van Gundy. One of those wins went overtime against Orlando, and another was decided in double-OT against Miami. ... Reserve G Chris Douglas-Roberts had nine points in 24 minutes in his second game back after missing the previous 15 because of a strained right Achilles.NEXT UP:Pistons: Host Dallas on Wednesday.Clippers: Host Indiana on Wednesday. Paul Kittredge . Coming off a 6-0 drubbing at Chelsea on Saturday, Arsenal endured another demoralizing result after rallying for a 2-1 lead -- only to concede a fluke equalizer. Colton Schmidt . Returning to Davis Cup tennis, Federer cruised past Ilija Bozoljac, winning 6-4, 7-5, 6-2 in less than two hours. Federer faced little challenge from Bozoljac, who served well but still was no match for his Swiss opponent.The World Champions of pessimism. Thats what the outstanding journalist Simon Kuper calls the French. Hed know, he has lived amongst them for over 10 years. Kuper, writer of all things good, said last year in a piece for the Financial Times that schooling in the country was one of the key reasons for the countrys negativity. Early childhood here is mostly happy, but then French schools seem to make people miserable for life. I first glimpsed this when my wife and I went to a parent-teacher meeting. It was the only one we were granted all year, so we were itching to hear about our daughters triumphs. This teacher saw her job solely as pointing out shortcomings. Thats pretty much the essence of French schooling, notes Peter Gumbel in his shocking book On achève bien les écoliers (They Shoot School Kids, Dont They?). French pupils, Gumbel explains, are almost never praised and frequently told they are worthless. Gumbel has not written a book on the state of the current French football team but if he chose to he could use the same description of their players. Since losing 2-0 in Ukraine last Friday, Frances national footballers had been taken out to the schoolyard and given a good hiding by the media and the public. LEquipe started Friday with the front page headline Everyone is behind Les Blues, but after a loss in Kiev, the country were not behind them at all. A poll taken by Le Parisien revealed 83.6 per cent felt France would not qualify for Brazil 2014. The 2-0 deficit played a part, but overall it reflected the general feeling the people of France had towards their national team. The French public had had enough. It is not hard to sympathize with them. Since getting to the World Cup final in 2006, France were pathetic at Euro 2008 and disgraced at the World Cup in 2010, failing to win a match at both tournaments. The players revolted against then coach Raymond Domenech and when Laurent Blanc took over, the 23 players in South Africa were disregarded for the first game, with some, such as Patrice Evra and Franck Ribery, suspended by their own football federation for their behaviour. Blanc steadied the ship for a while, but when they lost a crucial match at Euro 2012 against Sweden, he admitted the camp had issues inside the dressing room: "It kicked off because all the players felt that everyone hadnt given everything." Frances loss meant they faced Spain, who would easily beat them in the quarter finals, and negative tactics coupled with poor behaviour towards the countrys media saw them exit in disgrace again. This time Blanc had had enough. France were again a national time divided. In 2013, it is harder than ever to get true unity with a national team. More than ever, players ply their trades for clubs away from their home country. They are individuals linked by nothing more than a passport and that is certainly the way France have played in qualifying for the World Cup. They started the campaign as the team no seed wanted to face, the 10th-best side in Europe according to the world rankings, and the moment they got Spain, they looked like a team stuck in third gear waiting for the playoffs. A smaller European group denied them a chance to climb the rankings, appearing once again in a draw unseeded. They were the team no seeded team wanted to face, once again. Ukraine were the unlucky ones, we were told. Yet, in the first leg France were predictably poor. Brian Bonner. A team lacking leadership who lost the plot when down a goal. Ukraine no longer believed they were worth fearing and France looked like a team who knew what the rest of Europe didnt - they were not as good as people thought. "Someone who is a starter at Real Madrid, cant be as bad as that?" harshly asked French Football Federation president Noel Le Graet earlier in qualifying but, in truth, he was right. Many of the French players looked nothing like those who played for their clubs. "Bravery! More Bravery! screamed LEquipes headline last weekend. And so with the nation angry with their national team once again, Didier Deschamps team had one last chance to get them back. A packed house at the Stade de France certainly didnt reflect the mood of the nation, getting behind their team from the moment the national anthem sung. Five changes were made to the French team that lost in Ukraine and everyone of them made a difference. In Mathieu Valbuena, France had vision and desire to attack in the final third, to push Ukraine deep and force their defenders to give away unnecessary fouls. In the 22nd minute, the Marseille man sent in a brilliant free kick that Ribery got on the end of and his powerful shot rebounded out to Mamadou Sakho to score his first international goal. Sakho, like Benzema, was one of the five changes made by Deschamps, and the Real Madrid man made it 2-0 soon after when he took the ball, which bounced off Valbuena, and into his path, to slot home. Stade de France erupted and the linesman, crucially, kept his flag down despite the striker being way offside. It was difficult to feel sorry for Ukraine, however, as five minutes earlier Benzema had a legitimate goal ruled out for offside. In 34 minutes, France had gotten back on level terms. Except, it wasnt. The archaic away goals rule that UEFA continues to adopt in these qualifiers meant France were on edge throughout. Brave was indeed the word of the day as Yohan Cabaye, another one of the famous five, led a brilliant resolute French side at 2-0, popping up in key areas to make crucial interceptions and tackles. Ukraine, down to 10 men after the dismissal of Yevhen Khacheridi, knew one goal would be enough. At 2-0, France still had it all to do, yet it was at these nervous times when they looked their most mature. They looked like a side that felt they would score, but knew the importance of not conceding. The goal would come, they felt, and come it did. From a second phase of a corner, Mathieu Debuchys cross wasnt dealt with by Ukraines defence and when Riberys strike came across goal it was knocked into his own net by Oleg Gusev. Deschamps, the former skipper who lifted the World Cup in that very stadium fifteen years ago, once stood for everything that was great in French football. Now, he stood powerless. He would kick and head every ball from the sideline for the next 20 minutes until the final whistle put him and his country out of their misery. Deschamps was lifted into the air by his players and coaching staff and hundreds of Tricolour flags flew inside the stadium. France had found themselves and a performance many didnt know they had left in them. The French may be pessimistic, but they are just as passionate. Tonight, the world champions of pessimism can love their national team once again. ' ' '
PITTSBURGH, Pa. LeSean McCoy Super Bowl Jersey . - As the game went on, Gerrit Coles fastball got faster, and the San Francisco Giants couldnt catch up. Cole won for the first time in nearly a month, and the Pittsburgh Pirates beat San Francisco 4-3 Wednesday for their second straight win over the Giants. Cole (3-2) beat Tim Lincecum for the second time in his 11-month major league career, allowing three runs and seven hits in eight innings with seven strikeouts and a walk. The No. 1 pick in the 2011 amateur draft, Cole had a fastball clocked at 95-96 mph to begin the game and was 97-98 over his final two innings. "Really solid, solid effort for him," Pirates manager Clint Hurdle said. "Pushing through the eighth inning, the middle of the order, was very impressive. Hes capable of a lot of things out there. You saw the velocity stay at a much higher level today throughout the game, and actually his velocity played bigger later than it did earlier." Fill-in closer Mark Melancon worked a perfect ninth for his second save in three chances. Centerfielder Andrew McCutchen made a diving catch of Brandon Crawfords soft liner to left-centre for the second out. Pittsburgh has won four of six after a 1-7 slide, taking two of three in the series. San Francisco had won 10 of 11 before the Pirates replay-aided walkoff win Tuesday. Pittsburgh scored all its runs over the first two innings Wednesday. "Were starting to click on all cylinders now," said Pirates catcher Chris Stewart, who had two hits. "The pitching is starting to come around, and were starting to get those hits in those big situations that we werent before". Ike Davis had three hits for the Pirates. Brandon Belt hit his ninth home run and drove in all three runs for San Francisco. Cole had been 0-2 in four starts since winning his first two outings. He pitched eight innings for the second time this season, throwing 107 pitches, one shy of his season high. Cole, who went 1 for 3 to maintain a .333 batting average, won his major league debut at home last June 11 against Lincecum, a two-time NL Cy Young Award winner. Lincecum (2-2) allowed four runs, eight hits and two walks in four innings. Opponents are hitting .329 against him. "I wasnt finishing my pitches, especially my secondary pitches," he said. "When I got ahead in the count, the secondary pitchers were just rolling up there and had no bite on them. Im the type of guy whos going to have to get guys to chase pitches, but I cant do that when Im leaving balls up in the strike zone that are so hittable." McCutchen had a run-scoring single in the first and came around on Starling Martes double. Travis Snider made it 4-1 with a two-run single in the second. Belt homered on the first pitch he saw with two outs in the first, then hit a two-run double with two outs in the fifth. But Belt was thrown out at third on the play, ending the threat. "That was a mistake," Giants manager Bruce Bochy said. NOTES: 3B Pablo Sandoval was not in the starting lineup after sustaining what Bochy termed a sprain of his hand or thumb during the final play of Tuesday nights game. He pinch hit for Lincecum in the fifth and singled. ... Neil Walker had a second-inning single has has reached safely in all 15 home games hes played against San Francisco ... The Giants headed to Los Angeles for a four-game series against the Dodgers that starts Thursday. San Franciscos starter in the opener, RHP Ryan Vogelsong, has allowed one earned run over 13 innings in his past two starts. ... The Pirates host St. Louis this weekend in a series that includes the first ESPN Sunday night game in PNC Parks 14-year history. Reggie Ragland Super Bowl Jersey . The 33-year-old defender has spent his entire career at Chelsea, scoring 57 goals in 621 appearances. He regained his regular starting place under Jose Mourinho in the season that ended at the weekend without Chelsea winning a trophy. Sammy Watkins Super Bowl Jersey . -- Atlanta Braves pitcher Tommy Hanson is being checked for a possible concussion after blowing a tire on his way to the first workout of spring training.Chicago, IL (SportsNetwork.com) - Devin Booker scored 19 points and top-ranked Kentucky put on a defensive clinic in an 83-42 obliteration of UCLA in the CBS Sports Classic. The Wildcats opened the game on a 24-0 run and allowed just three field goals on 37 shots from the Bruins in the first half en route to building a startling 41-7 lead at the break. The seven points were the lowest total in a half in UCLAs storied history and the fewest Kentucky has permitted in a period since 1943. UCLA finished a miserable 25. Emmanuel Ogbah Super Bowl Jersey . 4 percent from the field and 1-of-4 from the foul line, committed 15 turnovers and had 13 shots rejected by the Wildcats suffocating defense. Aaron Harrison chipped in 15 points and Andrew Harrison dished out eight assists to help Kentucky (12-0) dominate from start-to-finish. Bryce Alford finished with 13 points and Isaac Hamilton had 12 for UCLA (8-4), though neither scored during the Bruins humiliating opening half. ' ' '