Update on the latest sports
Another Freakish win for Bucks
UNDATED (AP) – The Bucks have regained the top spot in the NBA’s overall standings, moving percentage points ahead of Toronto following another outstanding performance from Milwaukee’s MVP candidate.
Giannis Antetokounmpo (YAH’-nihs an-teh-to-KOON’-poh) poured in 27 points and grabbed a season-high 21 rebounds as the Bucks outscored the Rockets, 116-109 in Houston. The Rockets got within 109-106 with 2 1/2 minutes left before the Greek Freak contributed a free throw and a layup to make it a six-point game with 40 seconds to play.
Malcolm Brogdon added 24 points on 9 of 12 shooting in the Bucks’ seventh victory in eight games.
James Harden delivered 42 points for the Rockets but missed four straight 3-point attempts down the stretch.
Checking out Wednesday’s other NBA action:
– Bradley Beal scored 14 straight Washington points in the fourth quarter and finished with 34 in the Wizards’ 123-106 downing of the Sixers. The Wizards guard outscored the 76ers 14-5 during the stretch to give Washington a 116-95 lead with 4:22 remaining.
– Marcus Morris and Jaylen Brown each scored 22 points and Jayson Tatum finished with 20 in the Celtics’ 135-108 rout of the Pacers. Boston owns a four-game winning streak following its highest scoring performance this season.
– CJ McCollum had 24 points and the Trail Blazers pulled away in the final quarter to send the Bulls to their fifth straight loss, 124-112 on Wednesday night. Jusuf Nurkic (NUR’-kihch) had 18 points and eight rebounds in Portland’s third win in a row.
– The Grizzlies ended their six-game skid as Marc Gasol (gah-SAHL’) had 26 points and 14 rebounds to carry Memphis past the Spurs, 96-86. Mike Conley had 15 points and six assists for the Grizzlies, who took advantage of San Antonio’s 36 percent shooting and 15 turnovers.
– The Lakers improved to 3-5 without injured forward LeBron James as Kyle Kuzma scored a career-high 41 points to lead a 113-110 decision over the Pistons. Kuzma had scoring runs of 10 and six points while delivering 22 in the third quarter.
– The Pelicans have their first three-game winning streak since mid-November after Anthony Davis contributed 38 points and 13 rebounds in a 140-124 victory against the Cavaliers. New Orleans rookie Frank Jackson reached a season high in points for the second straight game, finishing with 19 off the bench as New Orleans dealt Cleveland its 11th consecutive loss.
– Luka Doncic scored 30 points on 8-for-14 from the field as the Mavericks beat the Suns for the first time in eight tries, 104-94. Doncic went 4 of 9 from beyond the arc, including a four-point play in the first half.
– Donovan Mitchell’s 33 points and seven assists carried the Jazz past the Magic, 106-93. Joe Ingles added 16 points and seven assists, and Rudy Gobert (goh-BEHR’) had 12 points and 14 rebounds as Utah climbed back to .500.
– D’Angelo Russell scored 23 points and the Nets won for the eighth time in their last nine home games by topping the Hawks, 116-100. Ed Dravis grabbed a season-high 16 rebounds and DeMarre Carroll added 17 points as Brooklyn improved to 21-22 with their 13th victory in 17 games.
Grizzlies’ Brooks will have surgery on ruptured toe ligament
UNDATED (AP) – Memphis Grizzlies swingman Dillon Brooks is slated for surgery on a ruptured ligament in his right big toe hurt.
Brooks was injured in last weekend’s 108-88 loss to the Spurs, his seventh game back after missing 21 straight with a sprained left knee. He is averaging 7.5 points in 18 games this season.
The Grizzlies say they will update his expected recovery time following surgery.
AP sources: Broncos, Jets, Browns get coaches
UNDATED (AP) – The list of NFL head coaching vacancies continues to shrink after the Denver Broncos, New York Jets and Cleveland Browns made new hires on Wednesday.
A person familiar with the hiring says Bears defensive coordinator Vic Fangio is the new head coach of the Broncos. The 60-year-old Fangio has spent 34 years as an assistant but has never been a head coach at any level.
He is the oldest of five candidates to be interviewed by Broncos general manager John Elway, who fired Vance Joseph after posting an 11-21 record in his two seasons as head coach.
A person familiar with the decision says the Jets have hired former Dolphins coach Adam Gase as their head coach. Gase was 23-26 in three seasons with Miami before being fired after this season. The Dolphins lost their lone playoff game under Gase, who came to the Dolphins after serving as offensive coordinator of the Broncos.
Gase replaces Todd Bowles, who was fired after he went 24-40 in four seasons.
The Browns have hired their head coach from within. A person familiar with the decision says the Browns have prompted offensive coordinator Freddie Kitchens to head coach. Kitchens has no previous head coaching experience, but the offense enjoyed success while he mentored quarterback Baker Mayfield.
The person also says Gregg Williams is no longer with the organization after going 5-3 at interim coach this season. Williams was interviewed for the head coaching position.
In other NFL news:
– Thomas Davis says he’s been informed by the Panthers he won’t be back with them for a 15th NFL season. The three-time Pro Bowl linebacker is the Panthers’ all-time leading tackler. He overcame a torn ACL in his same knee three times to record 1,094 tackles, 28 sacks and 13 interceptions. Davis was an All-Pro in 2015, the year he went to his only Super Bowl. Davis posted on Twitter late Wednesday night that the Panthers informed him they were moving in a different direction at linebacker. The 35-year-old Davis thanked the organization for “14 special years,” but said that he’s not retiring. He becomes a free agent in March.
– The NFL abruptly dropped its plan to challenge approved dementia diagnoses in a landmark concussion case as players’ lawyers accuse it of trying to delay payments and rewrite the $1 billion settlement. A federal court hearing set for Thursday on the NFL’s appeal was canceled Wednesday afternoon as the league dropped its appeal. Instead, U.S. District Judge Anita Brody issued an order requiring doctors to explain their findings in certain cases.
– The NFL and the NFL Players Association have released a joint statement saying an independent administrator found Panthers safety Eric Reid received the “normal” number of drug tests this season and was not the subject of targeting by the league. Reid said last month that he had been tested seven times by the NFL, but a person familiar with the situation tells The Associated Press that Reid was not tested that many times. Reid accused the league of targeting him because of the ongoing collusion case against the NFL alleging that team owners conspired to keep him out of the league for kneeling during the national anthem.
– A lawsuit claiming the NFL violated New Jersey’s consumer fraud laws with its ticketing policies for the 2014 Super Bowl at MetLife Stadium has been dealt a defeat in court. New Jersey’s Supreme Court ruled Wednesday that the NFL didn’t violate the laws when it released 1 percent of tickets to fans through a lottery. The rest of the tickets were withheld for teams, sponsors and other insiders.
Temple, Ole Miss, Rutgers score upsets
UNDATED (AP) – Second-ranked Michigan and No. 3 Virginia are the only Division I teams without a loss following Houston’s setback in Philadelphia.
Quinton Rose scored 22 points and Temple improved to 12-3 with a 73-69 victory over the 17th-ranked Cougars. Shizz Alston Jr. had 12 points, six rebounds and six assists in the Owls’ fifth win in six games.
Breaon Brady had 19 points to lead the Cougars, who started 15-0 for the first time since the 1967-68 team won its first 31 games.
Houston wasn’t the only ranked team to lose on Wednesday.
Mississippi is a surprising 12-2 after Terence Davis had 27 points and 12 rebounds to lead an 82-67 upset of No. 11 Auburn. Davis shot 9 of 15 from the field and made four 3-pointers.
Geo Baker nailed a jumper with 10.3 seconds to play as Rutgers scored its most impressive Big Ten Conference victory under coach Steve Pikiell, a 64-61 decision over No. 16 Ohio State. Baker finished with 15 points and Montez Mathis had a team-high 16, including a pair of big contested layups down the stretch.
In Wednesday’s other top-25 finals:
– No. 4 Virginia remains perfect on the season after Mamadi Diakita and De’Andre Hunter each scored 18 points apiece in an 83-56 thrashing of Boston College. Ty Jerome added 13 points and Kyle Guy 10 for the 14-0 Cavaliers.
– Seventh-ranked Kansas led by just two midway through the second half before Dedric Lawson scored nine straight to lift the Jayhawks past No. 25 TCU, 77-68. Lawson finished with 31 points and 14 boards, while Lagerald Vick contributed 12 points and four assists for the 12-2 Jayhawks.
– Virginia Tech picked up its ninth straight win as Ahmed Hill scored 15 points in the ninth-ranked Hokies’ 52-49 squeaker at Georgia Tech. Kerry Blackshear added 14 points and 10 boards for the Hokies, who improved to 14-1 despite shooting 5-for-27 from 3-point range.
– Caleb Martin scored 21 of his 23 points in the second-half and Jordan Caroline chipped in 19 as part of 10th-ranked Nevada’s 92-53 blowout over San Jose State. Corey Henson added 15 and Cody Martin scored 14 to help the Wolf Pack bounce back from their first loss of the season.
– David Nichols had 13 points and PJ Savoy scored eight of his 10 in the second half as the bench players helped No. 13 Florida State hold off Miami, 68-62. The Hurricanes used an 8-0 run to get within 64-62 in the final minute, but Terance Mann’s putback with 29 seconds remaining gave the Seminoles breathing room.
– Markus Howard scored 14 of his career-high 53 points in overtime to help No. 21 Marquette pull out a 106-104 triumph at Creighton. Sam Hauser chipped in 13 points and hit a deep 3-point at the end of regulation to tie it for the Golden Eagles.
Preds win on Forsberg’s 2nd of night
UNDATED (AP) – The Predators struggled against the Blackhawks in Chicago on Wednesday before an overtime tally sent Nashville to the top of the NHL’s Central Division standings.
Filip Forsberg scored his second goal of the game one minute into the extra session to complete the Predators’ 4-3 win against the Hawks. Forsberg gave Nashville a 3-1 lead in the second period, but Chicago eventually tied it on a goal by Artem Anisimov (ah-NEE’-see-mahv) with 2:21 left in regulation.
Colton Sissons and Viktor Arvidsson also scored to help the Predators improve to 3-0-1 on a six-game trip.
Nashville is one point ahead of the Jets in their division, and three points behind Calgary for the Western Conference lead.
Elsewhere on NHL ice:
– The Flames were 5-3 winners against the Avalanche as Johnny Gaudreau set up two goals to extend his point streak to six games. Mark Giordano had three assists and Calgary won for the sixth time in eight games to take over the Western Conference lead.
– The Senators’ eight-game losing streak ended when Colin White scored at 1:34 of overtime to give Ottawa a 2-1 victory over the Ducks. Bobby Ryan also scored for the Senators and Anders Nilsson stopped 32 shots as Ottawa handed Anaheim its team-record ninth consecutive loss.
Targeting penalty targeted by coaches
UNDATED (AP) – Automatic ejections for targeting could be dropped in some cases as early as next season if an American Football Coaches Association proposal is approved by the NCAA Football Rules Committee.
AFCA executive director Todd Berry says there should be Targeting 1, which would carry a 15-yard penalty. Targeting 2 would be for hits with malicious intent and it would mean an ejection as well as the 15-yard penalty.
Rogers Redding, the NCAA’s national coordinator of officials, said that because the AFCA proposal concerns player safety, it would go into effect in 2019 if approved.
The targeting penalty was introduced in 2008. It has included automatic player ejections since 2013.
In other college football news:
– Suspended Clemson defensive tackle Dexter Lawrence is going to the NFL. The junior lineman became the third defensive starter for Clemson’s national championship team to give up their eligibility to turn pro. Lawrence missed Clemson’s two College Football Playoff games after he tested positive for the banned substance ostarine.
– Two people familiar with the situation say Alabama quarterback Jalen Hurts has entered his name into the NCAA transfer database portal. Putting his name on the list allows other schools to contact Hurts, who has already graduated and is eligible to play his final season as a graduate transfer. It’s not a binding decision to transfer. Hurts is a two-year starter who led Alabama to a pair of national championship games and was Southeastern Conference offensive player of the year as a freshman.
– Kansas running back Pooka Williams has been granted diversion in a domestic battery case, meaning he has a chance to keep the allegation off his record. Williams is accused of punching an 18-year-old woman in the stomach and grabbing her by the throat last month. Diversion allows someone to avoid the usual legal procedures and complete specific requirements, which can include rehabilitation programs or fines.
Indians, Plawecki avoid arbitration
UNDATED (AP) – The Indians have avoided salary arbitration with new catcher Kevin Plawecki, who agreed to a one-year contract for just over $1.1 million.
Plawecki was acquired Sunday from the Mets. He made about $550,000 last season while batting .201 with seven homers and a career-high 30 RBIs.
In other baseball news:
– Former Cardinals slugger Chris Duncan is stepping down from his radio career to focus on his battle with brain cancer. The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports Duncan took a temporary leave from the station in March to resume treatment for brain cancer that was first diagnosed in 2012.
– Catcher Travis d’Arnaud got a $40,000 raise from the Mets to more than $3.5 million despite missing nearly all of last season following Tommy John surgery. D’Arnaud has been on the disabled list in five straight seasons as injuries limited him to 366 major league games, an average of 73 per season.
– The Yankees host Baltimore and Washington is at home against the Mets on March 28. Those are the first games of the earliest regular major league opening day.
TENNIS-AUSTRALIAN OPEN SEEDS
Djokovic, Halep are No. 1s at Melbourne
MELBOURNE, Australia (AP) – Top-ranked Novak Djokovic (JOH’-koh-vihk) and Simona Halep (HA’-lehp) have been given the No. 1 seeds for the Australian Open, which begins Monday at Melbourne Park.
Rafael Nadal (nah-DAHL’) as the second seed on the men’s side, defending champion Roger Federer is No. 3 and John Isner is the highest-seeded American man at No. 9.
Angelique Kerber and Caroline Wozniacki (wohz-nee-A’-kee) are second and third respectively on the women’s side, while Serena Williams is 16th.
WORLD CUP-WINNER DISQUALIFIED
German skier stripped of World Cup win for oxygen tank use
UNDATED (AP) – The International Ski Federation has disqualified Stefan Luitz from his first World Cup win for inhaling from an oxygen tank between giant slalom runs.
FIS says the German racer will lose his prize money of 45,000 Swiss francs ($46,000) and 100 World Cup points for the Dec. 2 victory in Beaver Creek, Colorado. Luitz will not be banned.
Racing at an altitude of 10,340 feet, Luitz used the oxygen before retaining his first-run lead over Marcel Hirscher. The Austrian great will be awarded the win.
FIS prohibits using supplemental oxygen even though the World Anti-Doping Agency does not.