Update on the latest in sports:
Playoff positions at stake
ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) – A little desperation went a long way for the Orlando Magic.
The Magic shut down the Philadelphia 76ers in the second half of a 119-98 victory on Monday night that moved them within a half-game of eighth place in the Eastern Conference. Nick Vucevic had 28 points and 11. They’re half-game behind Miami in chasing the final playoff spot in the East. They visit the Heat on Tuesday.
In other NBA games:
– Jusuf Nurkic had 32 points and 16 rebounds before suffering a gruesome left leg injury in the second overtime, and the Portland Trail Blazers outlasted the Brooklyn Nets 148-144. Nurkic was hurt when he left bent awkwardly as he battled for an offensive rebound.
– Bruno Caboclo scored a career-high 24 points, Tyler Dorsey added 21 and the Memphis Grizzlies beat the Oklahoma City Thunder 115-103. Delon Wright finished with 18 points and a career-best 13 assists for the Grizzlies. Jonas Valanciunas added 18 points and 14 rebounds. Oklahoma City lost for the fifth time in six games.
– Rudy Gobert scored a season-high 27 points and set the single-season NBA dunk record to fuel the Utah Jazz to a 125-92 win over Phoenix Monday, despite 59 points from Devin Booker. Derrick Favors and Ricky Rubio each had 18 points and Joe Ingles added 14 as the Jazz have claimed their seventh victory in their last eight games.
Former Knicks, NYU player Cal Ramsey dies at 81
NEW YORK (AP) – Cal Ramsey, who starred at NYU in the 1950s and went on to play for the New York Knicks, has died at 81.
After his playing career, Ramsey worked for the Knicks as a color analyst and later in community relations. The team says he died at a rehab center in Manhattan.
Madison Square Garden chairman James Dolan calls Ramsey “one of the greatest ambassadors in New York City basketball history.”
Playoff races tighten as season winds down
NEW YORK (AP) – Teddy Blueger scored two goals, Matt Murray made 33 saves and the Pittsburgh Penguins surged to a 5-2 win over the New York Rangers on Monday night.
Justin Schultz, Nick Bjugstad and Matt Cullen also scored for Pittsburgh. Phil Kessel and Marcus Pettersson each added two assists.
Pittsburgh pulled into a tie with the New York Islanders for second place in the Metropolitan Division with 95 points. Both teams trail Washington by one point for first.
Elsewhere on NHL ice:
– Dylan Larkin scored in the first minute, Jonathan Bernier had 38 saves and the Detroit Red Wings beat the San Jose Sharks 3-2 Monday night. The Red Wings have won four of their last five games after going 1-9-3 over their previous 13. The Sharks lost their season-high sixth (0-5-1) straight game. It’s their longest skid since going 0-6-0 in March 2017.
– Steven Stamkos scored twice and finished with four points, and the Tampa Bay Lightning became the fourth NHL team to win at least 59 games in a season, rallying from two goals down to beat the Boston Bruins 5-4 on Monday night. With five games remaining, Tampa Bay (59-14-4) has a chance to surpass the NHL record of 62 wins, set by the 1995-96 Detroit Red Wings.
– John Tavares recorded the first four-goal game of his career as the Toronto Maple Leafs downed the Florida Panthers 7-5 on Monday night. The star center, who signed a seven-year, $77-million contract with the Leafs in free agency on July 1, now has 45 goals on the season – the most ever by a player in his first season with the franchise. The Leafs started the night seven points back of the Boston Bruins for second in the Atlantic Division and are almost assured of meeting their rivals for a second straight spring in the first round of the playoffs.
– Tyler Seguin and Radek Faska each scored a pair of goals and the Dallas Stars snapped a two-game losing streak with a 5-2 victory over the Winnipeg Jets on Monday. The Stars maintained their hold on the first wild-card spot in the Western Conference. The Jets remain in first place in the Central Division, two points ahead of Nashville, with a game in hand.
– Juuse Saros made 29 saves for his third shutout of the season and Ryan Johansen scored a short-handed goal as the Nashville Predators defeated the Minnesota Wild 1-0. With the victory, the Predators clinched a spot in the Western Conference playoffs. They are in second place in the Central Division, two points behind Winnipeg.
– Ivan Barbashev, Zach Sanford and Ryan O’Reilly scored to help the St. Louis Blues beat the Vegas Golden Knights 3-1 on Monday night. Jordan Binnington made 24 saves for his 21st victory. Vegas could have clinched a playoff berth with a win. The Golden Knights are in third place in the Pacific Division, 11 points ahead of Arizona. St. Louis sits third in the Central Division and also is closing in on a playoff spot. The Blues remained two points behind second-place Nashville.
– The top team in the NHL’s Western Conference tripped on the basement-dweller when the Los Angeles Kings upset the Calgary Flames 3-0. Kings backup goaltender Jack Campbell earned his second career shutout and his first win since Feb. 5 stopping 42 shots. The Kings won their third straight, but won’t see the post-season this year.
– Cory Schneider overcame an embarrassing early, bad-hop goal from center ice, made 45 saves and got the benefit of having a game-tying, third-period tally nullified for goaltender interference in leading the New Jersey Devils to a 3-1 victory over the Buffalo Sabres on Monday night. New Jersey won its second straight. Miles Wood added an empty-net goal on a length-of-the-ice shot.
Coaches, others in college admissions scam plead not guilty
BOSTON (AP) – There were court appearances Monday in a nationwide college admissions scam. A dozen sports coaches, test administrators and others pleaded not guilty to participating.
The defendants arrested in the Operation Varsity Blues investigation were arraigned in Boston’s federal court on Monday.
They include former Georgetown tennis coach Gordon Ernst, former UCLA men’s soccer coach Jorge Salcedo and Wake Forest women’s volleyball coach Bill Ferguson.
An attorney for Ferguson told reporters his client is innocent and “does not belong in this indictment.”
The coaches are charged with accepting bribes in exchange for helping students get into school by pretending they were athletic recruits.
Hollywood stars Felicity Huffman and Lori Loughlin and other prominent parents charged with bribing coaches and arranging ways to cheat on their children’s entrance exams are due in court on later dates.
Nike statement says it ‘will not be extorted’
LOS ANGELES (AP) – Nike says it has been cooperating with the federal government’s ongoing investigation of college basketball for more than a year.
The company issued a statement Monday saying it “will not be extorted or hide information that is relevant to a government investigation.”
The statement followed the arrest of celebrity attorney Michael Avenatti on federal extortion charges.
Federal prosecutors say Avenatti threatened to hold a news conference to announce damaging allegations against Nike if the company didn’t pay him more than $20 million.
Nike officials told investigators Avenatti claimed to know of rules violations by an amateur basketball team sponsored by the company.
Nike said it “believes in ethical and fair play, both in business and sports, and will continue to assist the prosecutors.”
Avenatti also is charged in Los Angeles with bank and wire fraud. He’s accused of embezzling a client’s money to pay his own expenses.
Holland closing for D’backs…Marlins release Straily…Orioles’ Cobbs out
UNDATED (AP) – Greg Holland has earned the closer’s job with the Arizona Diamondbacks.
Holland returned from Tommy John surgery and led the NL with 41 saves for Colorado in 2017. The 33-year-old right-hander was 2-2 with a 4.66 ERA with St. Louis and Washington last season, when he earned $14 million. He has a 2.83 ERA in eight major league seasons.
In other baseball news:
– The Miami Marlins have released Dan pitcher Straily. The team will give Straily more than $1.2 million in termination pay rather than his $5 million salary. The 30-year old right-hander was 15-15 in two seasons with the Marlins. He was limited to 23 starts last year, when he went on the disabled list twice because of forearm and oblique strains.
– The Baltimore Orioles put scheduled opening-day starter Alex Cobb on the 10-day injured list because of a strained right groin. He likely will be replaced by Andrew Cashner for Thursday’s game at the New York Yankees. Cobb’s last spring training was cut short after one inning Saturday because of the groin. Baltimore also placed catcher Austin Wynns on the 10-day IL because of a left oblique strain.
GOLF: MATCH PLAY
Woods to open Match Play against rookie of year
AUSTIN, Texas (AP) – Tiger Woods opens the Dell Technologies Match Play against the PGA Tour rookie of the year.
Woods is back in the Match Play for the first time since 2013, when it was held in Arizona and he was eliminated in the opening round. Now it is group play, assuring him of three matches. The winner of the 16 groups advance to the knockout stage.
First up for Woods on Wednesday is Aaron Wise, an NCAA champion from Oregon who won the AT&T Byron Nelson last year. Also in the group are Patrick Cantlay and Brandt Snedeker.
Dustin Johnson is the No. 1 seed and has Hideki Matsuyama, Branden Grace and Chez Reavie.
Jason Day is in the all-major champion group with Phil Mickelson, Henrik Stenson and Jim Furyk.
Packers at Bears to open 2019 season
PHOENIX (AP) – As part of the celebration of its 100th season, the NFL will break from tradition and feature the Packers vs. the Bears in its season opener Sept. 5.
Usually, the Super Bowl champion is the home team for the prime-time opener, but the league wants to salute historic rivalries in 2019. None fits better than Chicago-Green Bay. The teams have met 200 times since 1921, when the Bears were the Chicago Staleys. Green Bay leads the series 97-95-6 in the regular season, with the clubs splitting two postseason games.
Staging the Thursday night game at Chicago’s Soldier Field – even if it is a modernized version of the stadium – adds to the theme.
This will be the first time since 2003 the Super Bowl champion has not hosted the opener. New England instead will open at home in the prime-time game Sunday night, Sept. 8. The opponent has not yet been determined. The full schedule will be announced next month.
Officials also outlined other plans for the 100th season: NFL Films will select the 100 greatest teams, plays, games, characters and game changers; an all-time team is being chosen and will be featured in a TV series; Peyton Manning will talk to fans around the country about the history of the NFL for another television series.
Elsewhere in the NFL:
– The Buffalo Bills are giving cornerback E.J. Gaines an opportunity to win back his starting job by signing the free agent to a one-year contract. Gaines returns to Buffalo after spending last season with Cleveland. The 27-year-old played six games with the Browns before going on the injured-reserve list after suffering his two concussions in three weeks.
– The New York Jets have re-signed outside linebacker Brandon Copeland and tight end Neal Sterling. Copeland had a career-high five sacks last year in his first season with the Jets. He played in every game and started 10, finishing with 47 tackles, 20 quarterback hits and three pass defenses – also personal bests. Copeland also was a key contributor on special teams.
GEORGIA TECH-PLAYER DIES
Medical examiner seeking cause of Ga. Tech player’s death
ATLANTA (AP) – The Georgia Bureau of Investigation’s medical examiner plans further tests to determine the cause of Georgia Tech defensive lineman Brandon Adams’ death.
The 21-year-old Adams died Saturday. An autopsy was performed Monday.
Officer Stephanie Brown, an Atlanta Police spokeswoman, says the GBI’s medical examiner’s office needs more lab tests, including toxicology results, to determine the “cause and manner” of Adams’ death. Brown says in a statement to The Associated Press that police investigators are working with the GBI.
Georgia Tech says its seniors and team captains have decided to start spring practice as scheduled on Tuesday. The practice will be closed to media.
Brown was a rising senior who was expected to be a key member of the Yellow Jackets’ defensive line under new coach Geoff Collins.