AP Sports

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February 17, 2021
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February 17, 2021
AP Sports



Update on the latest sports


Jokic productive, but Celtics win
UNDATED (AP) – Nikola Jokic (nih-KOH’-lah YOH’-kihch) registered his third 40-point game of the season, but it wasn’t enough for the Denver Nuggets.
The Nuggets’ three-game winning streak is over after they wasted Jokic’s 43 points in a 112-99 loss at Boston. Jaylen Brown had 27 points and eight assists for the Celtics, who turned 17 turnovers into 23 points and led by 15 in the first half.
Jayson Tatum added 21 points and eight assists as Boston bounced back following two anemic performances in back-to-back losses to Detroit and Washington.


Checking out Wednesday’s other NBA action:
– LeBron James had 30 points, 13 rebounds and seven assists for the Lakers in a 112-104 downing of the Timberwolves. Dennis Schroder scored 24 points and Montrezl (MAHN’-trehz) Harrell pitched in 17 points as Los Angeles won in Minnesota for the first time in eight games since March 2015.


– Brooklyn picked up its fourth win in a row by turning a 24-point deficit into a 128-124 decision over the Suns. James Harden scored 38 points and Joe Harris added 22 as the Nets overcame the absences of Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving due to injuries. Harden’s 3-pointer with 31 seconds left gave the Nets their first lead of the game at 126-124.


– Damian Lillard scored 12 of his 31 points in the final 4:11 to help the Trail Blazers pick up their fifth consecutive victory, 115-104 at Oklahoma City. Portland squandered a 24-point lead in the second half, then regained control as Lillard made all four of his 3-point tries during the closing run while playing with five fouls.


– Fred VanVleet dropped in 33 points and Pascal Siakam (see-A’-kam) added 23 in the Raptors’ 124-113 win at Milwaukee. The Bucks lost their fourth in a row despite getting 34 points, 10 rebounds and eight assists from Giannis Antetokounmpo (YAH’-nihs an-teh-toh-KOON’-poh).


– Zion Williamson dominated the inside scoring 31 points on 13 of 16 shooting as the Pelicans hammered the Grizzlies, 144-113 to end a three-game losing streak. Josh Hart finished with a season-high 27 points for New Orleans, while Brandon Ingram had 22 points.
– The Pistons-Mavericks game in Dallas was postponed as the state of Texas deals with with icy conditions for travel and widespread power outages.


More Spurs games canceled amid outbreak
UNDATED (AP) – The NBA says the San Antonio Spurs are dealing with a coronavirus outbreak among four players, putting their schedule on hold until the middle of next week at the earliest.
The league has postponed five more games: the next three for the Spurs as well as the next two for the Charlotte Hornets while contact tracing is completed.


In NBA news:
– Knicks center Mitchell Robinson will be out until after next month’s All-Star break after having surgery Tuesday to repair a broken right hand. Robinson was hurt last Friday in Washington when he banged his hand trying to block a shot. Robinson shot an NBA-record 74.2% from the field last season and was leading the league at 66% when he was hurt.


– Timberwolves point guard D’Angelo Russell will undergo arthroscopic surgery Wednesday on his left knee and be sidelined for four to six weeks. Russell missed the last three games due to soreness in his left leg and was diagnosed with a loose body in his knee. He is averaging 19.3 points and 5.1 assists this season on 42.6% shooting.


– The mayor of Atlanta is raising concerns about the notion of fans coming to the city for the NBA All-Star Game and skills competitions on March 7. Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms says, “People should not travel to Atlanta to party.”


– The Bucks will start having a limited number of spectators at their home games beginning tonight against the Raptors. They’ll have 250 spectators Tuesday, 500 for Thursday’s game with Toronto and 750 for Friday’s game with the Oklahoma City Thunder. Members of the general public will be allowed to attend games starting Sunday when the Bucks face the Kings.


Illini hold off Wildcats
UNDATED (AP) – Illinois had a lapse in the second half before extending their winning streak.
The fifth-ranked Illini picked up their sixth straight win by getting past Northwestern, 73-66.
The Illini shot 60% from the field in taking a 38-26 halftime lead. The Wildcats got within two before suffering their 12th straight loss.
Kofi Cockburn had 17 points and 17 rebounds for his 14th double-double of the season. Ayo Dosunmu chipped in 13 points and helped the Illini open the game with a 25-7 run.


In other top-25 men’s basketball action:
– Toumani Camara scored 15 points, including a big three-point play, as Georgia rallied to beat No. 20 Missouri 80-70. Justin Kier to help the Bulldogs deal the Tigers their third straight loss. Georgia trailed 48-35 but ended the game on an 18-8 run.
Davonte Davis led four Arkansas players in double figures with 18 points, propelling the No. 24 Razorbacks over Florida 75-64. Arkansas blew a 15-point lead before earning its seventh straight win and first since cracking the top-25.


Baylor to resume slate next Tuesday
UNDATED (AP) – Second-ranked Baylor is set to resume its schedule next Tuesday following a six-game hiatus that started because of COVID-19 protocols.
The Bears are scheduled to play Iowa State at home after the Big 12 announced the postponement of Saturday’s home game against Oklahoma State. The conference didn’t specify whether the Oklahoma State postponement was over COVID-19 issues or the wintry weather affecting Texas.
Baylor hasn’t played since matching the best start in school history at 17-0 with an 83-69 win over No. 12 Texas on Feb. 2.


In other COVID-related men’s basketball news:
– The Boston College-Georgia Tech game scheduled for Wednesday has been postponed. The Atlantic Coast Conference said the postponement was due to the continued quarantines and contact tracing within the Boston College program.


Caps end slide
UNDATED (AP) – The Washington Capitals ended a pair of streaks on Wednesday.
The Capitals’ 3-1 victory at Pittsburgh halts Washington’s four-game skid and stops the Penguins’ season-opening home winning streak at five games. Conor Sheary and Jakub Vrana scored in the second period to support Vitek Vanecek (VEE’-tehk VAN’-ih-vhehk), who made 26 saves in his 11th straight start.
Tristan Jarry made 39 saves for the Penguins, who scored six times against the Capitals on Sunday.


Elsewhere on NHL ice:
– The Avalanche pulled out a 3-2 win over the Golden Knights on Nazem Kadri’s (NA’-zehm KA’-dreez) goal with 41 seconds left in regulation. Nathan MacKinnon and Brandon Saad also scored for Colorado, while Philip Grubauer stopped 27 shots.


– Ilya Sorokin’s first NHL victory was a shutout as he made 20 saves in the Islanders’ 3-0 win over the Sabres. Anders Lee scored twice, including a last-second empty netter, to help the Isles improve to 5-0-3 in their last eight games.


– The Rangers absorbed their fourth straight loss as Yegor Sharangovich (yeh-GOHR’ shar-ehn-GOH’-vihch) and Nicholas Merkley scored in the third period of the Devils’ 5-2 victory against their neighbors. Pavel Zacha (ZAH’-kah), Will Butcher and Mikhail Maltsev also scored for New Jersey, which returned to action for the first time this month after an extended pause due to a COVID-19 outbreak.


– The Kings earned a 4-0 win over the Wild as Jonathan Quick handled 28 shots in his first shutout of the season and 53rd of his career. Jaret Anderson-Dolan had a goal and an assist against Minnesota, which was playing for the first time since Feb. 2 due to a COVID-19 outbreak.


More Flyers practice
PHILADELPHIA (AP) – The Philadelphia Flyers returned to practice in limited quantities after a weeklong shutdown because of the virus.
The Flyers had 16 players on the ice for yesterday’s workout. General manager Chuck Fletcher expects eight more to be cleared for practice today.
Philadelphia has seven players on the NHL’s COVID-19 protocol list.


Nadal loses to Tsitsipas in 5 at Australian Open
MELBOURNE, Australia (AP) – Rafael Nadal’s bid for a men’s-record 21st Grand Slam title has ended with a five-set loss to Stefanos Tsitsipas in the Australian Open quarterfinals.
It is only the second time in Nadal’s career he has lost a Grand Slam match after taking the opening two sets. He went ahead rather easily against Tsitsipas to run his streak of consecutive sets won at major tournaments to 35. But a surprisingly poor tiebreaker by Nadal helped give the third set to Tsitsipas and begin the epic comeback.
Now the 22-year-old from Greece will try to reach his first major final by beating Daniil Medvedev on Friday.


In women’s action:
Karolina Muchova (moo-KOH’-vah) has moved into the semifinals of the Australian Open after a surprising win over the world’s No. 1 player. Muchova took an injury timeout early in the second set and rallied to a 1-6, 6-3, 6-2 win over Ash Barty. Her comeback win ended Barty’s bid to become the first Australian woman to win the title in Melbourne since Chris O’Neil in 1978. Muchova’s opponent Thursday will be the winner of the last quarterfinal, an all-American matchup between No. 22-seeded Jennifer Brady and unseeded Jessica Pegula.


Fans to return after 5-day lockdown in Melbourne
MELBOURNE, Australia (AP) – Fans will be allowed back at the Australian Open after a five-day lockdown in Melbourne.
Australia’s second-largest city is set to relax its third lockdown after authorities contained the spread of a COVID-19 cluster centered on hotel quarantine. Tournament director Craig Tiley says the crowd will be capped at 7,477 – half the capacity of Rod Laver Arena – starting Thursday.
Crowds of up to 30,000 a day were allowed into Melbourne Park for the first five days of the tournament. Those were the first sizable crowds in 12 months at a major.


Herrera gets an invite to spring training
UNDATED (AP) – Former All-Star center fielder Odubel (oh-DOO’-bul) Herrera was among 31 non-roster players the Philadelphia Phillies have invited to spring training.
Herrera, hasn’t played for the Phillies since 2019 when he was suspended under Major League Baseball’s domestic violence policy. The charges against Herrera were dismissed but he was removed from the team’s 40-man roster last year and wasn’t part of the 60-player pool for the shortened season.
Catcher Jeff Mathis signed a minor league deal with the Phils on Tuesday and will join the major league camp. Mathis batted .161 in 24 games for Texas last season.


Elsewhere in the majors:
– The Athletics finalized their one-year, $3.5 million package with Mike Fiers (FY’-urz) after he passed his physical. Fiers earned a team-high six wins for Oakland last season after going 15-4 with a no-hitter and a 21-start unbeaten stretch in 2019.


– The Braves beat Dansby Swanson in salary arbitration, and the shortstop will earn $6 million rather than his request for $6.7 million. The 27-year-old Swanson hit .274 with 10 homers and 35 RBIs last season in an NL-high 237 at-bats.


– The Red Sox have signed Japanese right-hander Hirokazu Sawamura to a two-year contract. Sawamura joins the Red Sox after a 10-year stint in Japan’s Nippon Professional Baseball league. He went 48-52 with 75 saves, four shutouts, a 2.77 ERA and 790 strikeouts in 352 appearances, including 88 starts.


– The Mets have sent right-hander Corey Oswalt to the minors and released reliever Brad Brach (brahk). Oswalt cleared waivers and was assigned outright to Triple-A Syracuse. Brach was designated for assignment last week and is guaranteed a salary of just over $2 million this year.


– The Indians have signed veteran reliever Blake Parker to a minor league contract with an invitation to training camp. The 35-year-old Parker spent the past two seasons with the Phillies and was 3-0 with a 2.81 ERA in 14 games for Philly last year.


– Bullpen coach Matt Wise will serve as the Los Angeles Angels’ interim pitching coach. He replaces Mickey Callaway, who is being investigated by Major League Baseball over allegations of inappropriate behavior toward several women who work in sports media.


Dolphins kicker signs extension
UNDATED (AP) – Miami Dolphins kicker Jason Sanders has signed a $22 million contract extension through 2026. The deal includes $10 million guaranteed.
Sanders is the Dolphins’ leader in career field goal percentage. He was chosen All-Pro after tying the franchise’s single-season points record with 144 in 2020.


Elsewhere in the NFL:
– A person familiar with the situation says the Panthers are releasing two-time Pro Bowl defensive tackle Kawann Short. Short has played in just five games over the last two seasons due to separate shoulder injuries that twice landed him on injured reserve.


Girl hurt in crash involving Chiefs coach Britt Reid awake
KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) – The family of a 5-year-old girl left in a coma following a crash involving Kansas City Chiefs assistant coach Britt Reid says the girl is now awake. The news was delivered Monday in a post on the GoFundMe page for Ariel Young. The girl has been hospitalized since the Feb. 4 crash.
Britt Reid is head coach Andy Reid’s son. Britt Reid was initially placed on administrative leave following the multi-vehicle crash. He’s no longer employed by the team.