AP Sports

AP Scorecard
December 24, 2020
Thursday, December 24th
December 24, 2020
AP Sports



Update on the latest sports


Rockets-Thunder postponed by COVID issues
UNDATED (AP) – The Rockets and Thunder were scheduled to play their NBA season opener Wednesday in Houston. But the game was postponed following coronavirus cases and James Harden’s violation of the NBA COVID-19 protocols, leaving the Rockets without the league-mandated eight players available.
The NBA said three Rockets players had returned tests that were either positive or inconclusive and that four other players were quarantined because of contact tracing. The league also said that Harden was unavailable for the game because of a violation of health and safety protocols. Video surfaced on social media showing that Harden was without a mask at a crowded party in a private event space on Tuesday night. The league has fined the former MVP $50,000.


It was a pretty full NBA schedule despite the postponement in Houston:
– Evan Fournier drained a late 3-pointer and converted a three-point play in the final minute to finish with 25 points and lead the Magic’s 113-107 victory over the Heat. Aaron Gordon had 20 points and seven rebounds, while Terrence Ross had 19 points for Orlando.


– Jayson Tatum banked in a fallaway, go-ahead 3-pointer in the final second before Giannis Antetokounmpo (YAH’-nihs an-teh-toh-KOON’-poh) missed the potential tying free throw with 0.4 seconds left, securing the Celtics’ 122-121 verdict over the Bucks. Tatum scored 30 points and Jaylen Brown had 33 for Boston, which entered the fourth quarter leading by 17 points.


– Buddy Hield (heeld) tipped in Harrison Barnes’ miss at the buzzer to send the Kings past the Nuggets, 124-122. Hield finished with a team-high 22 points, while Barnes and De’Aaron Fox each added 21 in Sacramento’s first win in Denver in seven tries.


– The Pelicans rallied from an 11-point deficit and beat the relocated Raptors, 113-99 in Toronto’s first home game in Tampa. Brandon Ingram led all scorers with 24 points and JJ Redick added 23, including a four-point play with just over a minute remaining.


– Joel Embiid (joh-EHL’ ehm-BEED’) delivered 29 points and 14 rebounds to lead the 76ers to a 113-107 win over Washington. Russell Westbrook had 21 points, 15 assists and 11 rebounds in his Wizards debut.


– The Jazz hammered the Trail Blazers, 120-100 as Rudy Gobert (goh-BEHR’) had 20 points and 17 rebounds in a dominant season-opening performance. Utah drained 19 of 50 3-point attempts, with Mike Conley, Donovan Mitchell and Bojan (BOY’-ahn) Bogdanovic all making four.


– Devin Booker scored 22 points and Mikal Bridges added 18 for the Suns in a 106-102 decision over the Mavericks. Chris Paul had eight points and five assists in his debut with Phoenix.


– Domantas Sabonis (doh-MAHN’-tahs sah-BOH’-nihs) scored a career-high 32 points and Victor Oladipo (oh-lah-DEE’-poh) furnished 16 of his 22 in the second half of the Pacers’ 121-107 victory over the Knicks. Sabonis also grabbed 13 rebounds as new coach Nate Bjorkgren celebrated his first career victory.


– DeMar DeRozan had 28 points and nine assists, while Dejounte (deh-JAWN’-tay) Murray added 21 points in the Spurs’ 131-119 downing of the Grizzlies. Reigning Rookie of the Year Ja (jah) Morant had 34 of his career-high 44 points in the second half to help Memphis stay close.


– Collin Sexton dropped in 27 points, Darius Garland added 22 and the Cavaliers won their first home game in nearly 300 days, 121-114 over the Hornets. Charlotte lost despite Terry Rozier, who made a career-high 10 3-pointers and scored 42 points.


– The Timberwolves were 111-101 winners over the Pistons behind Karl-Anthony Towns’ 22 points, 11 rebounds and seven assists. Malik Beasley scored 23 points and first overall pick Anthony Edwards had 15 as the pair helped Atlanta win despite trailing by 12 late in the third quarter.


– Trae Young scored 37 points and the revamped Hawks rolled to a 124-104 win over the Bulls, spoiling Billy Donovan’s debut as Chicago’s coach. Cam Reddish had 15 points and John Collins finished with 14 for Atlanta, which shot 54% from the field and had seven players score in double figures.


Buckeyes trip Rutgers
UNDATED (AP) – Ohio State has bounced back from its Big Ten season-opening loss to Purdue by cooling off Rutgers.
Duane Washington Jr. scored 22 points and the 23rd-rated Buckeyes rallied from a 16-point, second-half deficit to beat the No. 11 Scarlet Knights, 80-68. E.J. Liddell had 21 points and Kyle Young added 17 with 12 rebounds for the Buckeyes, who trailed 48-32 with 15 minutes left. The 7-1 Buckeyes went on a 20-1 run late in the second half to seize control and hand the Scarlet Knights their first loss.


Also on Wednesday’s top-25 men’s basketball schedule:
– Collin Gillespie nailed six 3-pointers and finished with 22 points in fifth-ranked Villanova’s sixth straight win, 85-68 over Marquette. Jeremiah Robinson-Earl and Justin Moore had 13 points each and Caleb Daniels added 10 to help the 8-1 Wildcats deal the Golden Eagles their third straight loss.


– Victor Bailey scored four of his 18 points during a 12-2 run that allowed eighth-ranked Tennessee to finally take control in the second half of an 80-60 win over USC Upstate. Josiah-Jordan James added 11 points and eight rebounds for the 6-0 Volunteers, while John Fulkerson scored 10.


– Ayo Dosunmu (EYE’-oh doh-SOO’-moo) scored 21 of his 30 points in the second half to lead No. 18 Illinois past Penn State, 98-81. Kofi Cockburn added 23 points and Andre Curbelo had 15 points and eight assists for the Illini, who trailed 19-4 before tying the game by halftime.


– Antwann Jones and Denzel Mahoney scored 13 points each to lead 13th-ranked Creighton to a 66-61 win over No. 22 Xavier. The Bluejays used an 8-0 run to start the second half to open up a 44-34 lead. before the Musketeers cut it to 64-61 with 10 seconds left on Paul Scruggs’ 3-pointer.


– No. 25 Oregon’s game at UCLA was postponed because of COVID-19 testing and contact tracing protocols involving a game official. It’s the third game for UCLA that has been postponed because of the coronavirus.


Syracuse-North Carolina game postponed
SYRACUSE, N.Y. (AP) – Syracuse’s men’s basketball game against No. 17 North Carolina that was scheduled for Jan. 2 has been postponed as the Orange remain on pause.
Syracuse stopped all basketball activities after members of Buffalo’s program tested positive for COVID-19 following the Orange’s overtime win Saturday against the Bulls.
Syracuse’s games against Notre Dame and Wake Forest were subsequently postponed.


Georgia Southern, Memphis get bowl wins
UNDATED (AP) – Georgia Southern and Memphis have ended their college football seasons with a bowl game victory.
Shai Werts had three touchdown runs and threw a 65-yard scoring pass to help Georgia Southern beat Louisiana Tech 38-3 in the New Orleans Bowl.
The Eagles came up with four interceptions, including two near its own goal line in the first quarter.
Georgia Southern finished with 322 yards rushing against the Bulldogs after entering the game averaging 262.
In the Montgomery Bowl, Brady White passed for 284 yards and three touchdowns to lead Memphis to a 25-10 victory over Florida Atlantic.
The 8-3 Tigers built a big halftime lead and withstood a third-quarter rally to end coach Ryan Silverfield’s first season with a second straight win. They also snapped a five-game bowl losing streak.


Haskins apologizes after photos show mask-less partying
UNDATED (AP) – Washington Football Team quarterback Dwayne Haskins has been handed a $40,000 fine by the club for partying with several people not wearing a mask. However, he will start at quarterback for Washington on Sunday if Alex Smith isn’t healthy enough to go.
Haskins apologized to teammates, took the first-team snaps in practice and is in line to play against Carolina if needed with the NFC East title potentially at stake – as long as he doesn’t test positive for the coronavirus. Coach Ron Rivera says Haskins was stripped of his captaincy.


In other NFL news:
– Raiders quarterback Derek Carr was a full participant in practice less than a week after leaving a game with a groin injury. Carr’s status for Saturday’s game against Miami was in question after he injured his groin on a scramble in the first quarter last Thursday versus the Chargers. He practiced on a limited basis on Tuesday in a sign he could return without missing a game and then was upgraded to a full participant on Wednesday.


– Seahawks wide receiver Josh Gordon will not make his debut this week after he was placed back on the commissioner’s exempt list. Seattle coach Pete Carroll said he was not at liberty to comment on Gordon’s situation. But the Seahawks went from expecting Gordon to possibly play this week against the Los Angeles Rams on Monday to two days later knowing he’ll be unavailable. One player Seattle won’t have for the rest of the season is cornerback Quinton Dunbar, who will undergo season-ending knee surgery.


– Jets defensive lineman Quinnen Williams is headed to injured reserve with a neck injury, ending his breakout second NFL season. Williams remains in the concussion protocol after leaving the team’s first victory of the season last Sunday at Los Angeles against the Rams. He has a team-leading seven sacks while rating as one of the NFL’s top interior defensive linemen this season.


– Jaguars coach Doug Marrone says Gardner Minshew and Mike Glennon will compete in practice for the starting quarterback job against Chicago on Sunday. Minshew and Glennon will split repetitions in practice.


– The Lions resumed practicing without interim coach Darrell Bevell, defensive coordinator Cory Undlin and some other assistants on the field. Bevell said he has not tested positive for COVID-19, but he is among the several coaches affected by contact tracing.


– The Panthers are expected to be without running back Christian McCaffrey and top pass rusher Brian Burns for Sunday’s game against Washington. Burns has a knee injury and McCaffrey is still bothered by a thigh issue.


– Dolphins running back Myles Gaskin has been activated off the COVID-19 reserve list. Gaskin is Miami’s leading rusher this season even though he hasn’t played since Week 4. He missed four games because of a knee injury and has been on the COVID-19 list since Dec. 12.


Kucherov expected to miss season
UNDATED (AP) – The Tampa Bay Lightning could be without one of their top snipers until next fall.
Winger Nikita Kucherov (KOO’-cheh-rahv) is expected to miss the entire regular season because of a hip injury that requires surgery. Losing the 2019 NHL MVP and leading scorer from the 2020 playoffs is a major blow to the defending Stanley Cup champions.
But they’ll be able to use long-term injury relief from Kucherov’s $9.5 million salary-cap hit to re-sign their final key restricted free agent, center Anthony Cirelli.


In other NHL news:
– The Devils have re-signed restricted free agent and their No. 1 goaltender Mackenzie Blackwood to a three-year, $8.4 million contract. Blackwood posted a 22-14-8 record with a 2.77 goals-against average, a .915 save percentage and three shutouts last season.


– Blackhawks forward Alex Nylander (NEE’-lan-dur) could miss the entire 2021 season because of a knee injury suffered during the playoffs. He had surgery Monday to repair a meniscus tear in his left knee.


– The Predators have signed forward Mikael Granlund to a one-year, $3.75 million contract. The move brings him back to the team that traded for him in February 2019.


– The NHL has postponed the outdoor Stadium Series game in North Carolina that was expected to be played in February. The Carolina Hurricanes had been scheduled to host the annual Stadium Series game on Feb. 20 at Carter-Finley Stadium in Raleigh. The NHL says the game will be played in North Carolina at another time.


Dodgers, Kahnle agree to $5.25M, 2-year deal
UNDATED (AP) – The Los Angeles Dodgers and right-handed reliever Tommy Kahnle have agreed to a two-year, $5.25 million deal, according to a person familiar with the contract.
Kahnle threw just one inning for the New York Yankees in 2020 before having season-ending Tommy John surgery in August. The 31-year-old is unlikely to pitch next season.
Kahnle had a 3.67 ERA in 72 games for New York in 2019, striking out 88 in 61 1/3 innings.


Elsewhere in the majors:
– The Red Sox have signed right-hander Matt Andriese (an-DREES’) to a one-year, $2.1 million, one-year deal to bolster the back end of their starting rotation. The 31-year-old Andriese made one start and 15 relief appearances for the Angels this year, posting a 4.50 ERA. Andriese has been a starter and reliever throughout his career, including during four seasons with AL East-rival Tampa Bay.


– The Tigers have signed right-hander Jose Urena (yoo-RAYN-yuh) to a one-year, $3.25 million package, a deal that includes $250,000 in bonuses. The 29-year-old starter has spent the past six season with the Miami Marlins, compiling a 32-46 record with a 4.60 ERA in 142 games, 98 starts.


– The Mets have hired Zack Scott as senior vice president and assistant general manager, reuniting the former Boston Red Sox executive with New York GM Jared Porter. The 43-year-old Scott spent the previous 17 seasons with Boston and was an assistant general manager the last two years.



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