Update on the latest sports
76ers beat Jazz in battle of conference leaders
UNDATED (AP) – Joel Embiid had 40 points and 19 rebounds and hit a tying 3-pointer late in regulation, and Tobias Harris scored 11 of his 22 points in overtime to lead the Philadelphia 76ers past the Utah Jazz 131-123 in a matchup of the NBA’s Eastern and Western Conference leaders.
Ben Simmons added 17 points for the 76ers, who improved their Eastern Conference-leading record to 24-12.
Donovan Mitchell had 33 points, eight rebounds and six assists for the Jazz, who lost their second straight. Mike Conley and Bojan Bogdanovic added 18 points apiece for Utah.
Mitchell was ejected with 30.8 seconds left in overtime after picking up his second technical. He got his first with 57.5 seconds remaining in the extra period after arguing a foul call.
The game included four players who will be participating in Sunday’s All-Star game in Embiid, Simmons, Mitchell and Rudy Gobert.
Checking out Wednesday’s other NBA action:
– Buddy Hield shook off a sore ankle to score 29 points and the Kings beat the short-handed Lakers 123-120 Wednesday night. Hield’s status for the game was in doubt because of a sprained right ankle but he decided to play through it and helped the Kings win for just the second time in the past 12 games. They took advantage of a banged-up Lakers team missing LeBron James and Anthony Davis. Sacramento held on at the end to win this one with Harrison Barnes’ layup giving the Kings a 121-120 lead with 30.1 seconds remaining after De’Aaron Fox had just fouled out.
– James Harden had a triple-double with 29 points, 10 rebounds and 14 assists in the first meeting with his former Houston teammates and the Brooklyn Nets won 132-114 to hand the Rockets their 13th straight loss. Many of the 3,615 fans booed when Harden was introduced before the game and more boos came the first few times he touched the ball. The Nets set a franchise record with their seventh straight road victory and have won 10 of their last 11 overall. It’s the longest skid for the Rockets since they dropped 15 in a row in 2001.
– Damian Lillard hit a deep 3-pointer with 13.7 seconds left to give the Portland Trail Blazers a hard-fought 108-106 victory over the Golden State Warriors. Lillard and Carmelo Anthony each had 22 points for the Blazers, who kept it close most of the way after the Warriors jumped out to an early lead. Stephen Curry led the Warriors with 35 points. His 3-pointer gave Golden State a 101-96 lead with 3:57 remaining.
– Wayne Ellington scored 25 points and the Detroit Pistons beat the virus-depleted Toronto Raptors 129-105 to snap a three-game losing streak. Ellington was 8 of 11 from 3-point range and the Pistons were 20 for 41 overall from long range. Detroit’s backup had 56 points, with Rodney McGruder and Saben Lee each finishing with 20. Norman Powell had 36 points for Toronto, and Kyle Lowry added 21 points.
– T.J. McConnell set an NBA record with nine steals in the first half and posted his second career triple-double with 16 points, 13 assists and a franchise-best 10 steals, leading the Indiana Pacers to a 114-111 victory over the Cleveland Cavaliers. McConnell also went 8 of 8 from the field in 36 minutes off the bench as Indiana rallied from a 19-point deficit in the third quarter and snapped Cleveland’s four-game winning streak. Malcolm Brogdon scored 27 points for the Pacers, who snapped a four-game skid.
– Kristaps Porzingis had 19 points and 13 rebounds with European sidekick Luka Doncic sidelined by a back issue going into his second All-Star appearance, and the Dallas Mavericks beat the Oklahoma City Thunder 87-78. Tim Hardaway Jr. scored 19 points, Josh Richardson added 16 and Dallas cruised most of the second half without the NBA’s sixth-leading scorer. Doncic had averaged 31.6 points in the previous nine games, with Dallas winning seven to get above .500 for the first time since Jan. 22. The Mavericks kept that roll going, winning for the 10th time in 13 games going into the All-Star break.
– Terry Rozier scored 31 points and Gordon Hayward added 23 as the Charlotte Hornets headed into the All-Star break with a 135-102 win over the skidding Minnesota Timberwolves. Rozier hit three 3-pointers in a span of 1:29, the last of which pushed the lead to 79-65. The Hornets have alternated wins and losses for the past 11 games, with Wednesday’s victory coming after a loss Monday at Portland. The Timberwolves have lost nine in a row and are 0-5 since Chris Finch replaced Ryan Saunders as coach.
– Trae Young scored 32 points and hit the go-ahead free throws with eight seconds remaining as the Atlanta Hawks rallied from 19 down in the second half to beat the Orlando Magic 115-112. Young had 20 points after halftime to lead the Hawks back from a 61-42 deficit at the break. They shot 9 of 13 on 3-pointers in the fourth quarter and 21 of 45 in the game to complete their biggest comeback of the season. Combined with Tuesday’s win in Miami, Atlanta improved to 2-0 under interim coach Nate McMillan and won consecutive games for the first time in 5 1/2 weeks.
– Zach LaVine capped a 36-point performance with a driving layup and four free throws during the final minute, and the Chicago Bulls held off a late rally to beat the mercurial New Orleans Pelicans 128-124. Coby White scored 25 for the Bulls, who led by as many as 19 and were still up 18 in the fourth quarter. The Pelicans’ late surge pulled them as close as 117-113 on Jaxson Hayes alley-oop dunk as he was fouled with 1:49 left. Hayes missed the free throw, however, and Zion Williamson, who scored 28 points, missed two free throws with a chance to cut it to two with 1:23 left.
NBA says $3 million going to HBCUs through All-Star Game
ATLANTA (AP) – The last shot of Sunday’s NBA All-Star Game will be worth $300,000 for either the Thurgood Marshall College Fund or United Negro College Fund.
The NBA on Wednesday revealed how an estimated $3 million in charitable donations from the contest will be distributed. Those two organizations that support historically Black colleges or institutions will be the primary benefactors, each guaranteed $500,000 in scholarship funding before the game even starts and with an additional $750,000 at stake during the game.
The teams captained by LeBron James and Kevin Durant will each represent one of those groups, and the winning team in each of the first, second and third quarters will collect $150,000 for their respective organization. The first team to hit the target score and win the All-Star Game will get the final $300,000 in scholarship funds.
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‘Nova beats Creighton to claim conference crown
UNDATED (AP) – Justin Moore dropped in 24 points and 10th-ranked Villanova wrapped up the Big East regular-season title by defeating No. 14 Creighton, 72-60.
Jay Wright’s team raced to a 19-point lead and clinched its seventh regular-season title in the last eight seasons. However, the Wildcats finished the game without star guard Collin Gillespie due to a left knee injury suffered in the first half.
The Bluejays were in action for the first time since coach Greg McDermott came under fire for using racist language in a postgame locker room talk.
In other top-25 men’s basketball finals:
– MJ Walker scored 18 points, hitting six 3-pointers, and RaiQuan Gray added 16 points to help No. 11 Florida State win its 25th straight ACC home game, 93-64, over Boston College. Gray scored in double figures for an 11th straight game for the Seminoles, who are in position to win the league’s regular-season title with a win at Notre Dame on Saturday. Walker scored 12 points in the first half as the Seminoles cruised to a 53-35 lead at the break and were never challenged. The Seminoles shot 55.6% from the floor and 13 of 27 from 3-point range.
– Matt Mitchell scored 19 points and Jordan Schakel added 16 for No. 19 San Diego State, which beat UNLV 71-62 to clinch the Mountain West Conference regular-season title for the second straight year. Nathan Mensah scored 14 points for the Aztecs, who used a 14-0 run spanning halftime to take control and win their 11th straight game. They get a week of rest before returning to Las Vegas as the No. 1 seed in the conference tournament.
Caps beat B’s in shootout
BOSTON (AP) – Jakub Vrana scored the lone goal in the shootout and the Washington Capitals beat the Boston Bruins 2-1 in Zdeno Chara’s return, spoiling Tuukka Rask’s bid for his 300th career victory.
Lars Eller also scored for the Capitals, who improved to 7-1-1 in their last nine games. Vitek Vanecek made 18 saves in regulation.
The 43-year-old Chara, the Bruins’ captain his entire 14 seasons with the club, signed a one-year contract as a free agent with the Capitals during the offseason. He helped Boston win the 2011 Stanley Cup, and was a key part of its runner-up teams in 2013 and 2019.
David Pastrnak scored for Boston and Rask stopped 27 shots.
Elsewhere on NHL ice:
– Jonathan Marchessault goal in the second period was the winner, Marc-Andre Fleury made 36 saves and the Vegas Golden Knights beat the Minnesota Wild 5-1. Vegas swept the two-game set against Minnesota and remained atop the West Division, one point ahead of the St. Louis Blues. Alex Tuch, Mark Stone, Chandler Stephenson and William Karlsson also scored for Vegas. Fleury improved to 11-3-0 and has limited teams to two goals or fewer in 10 of his 14 appearances.
– Jordan Binnington made 27 saves and the St. Louis Blues scored on all three of their power plays in a 3-2 victory over the skidding Anaheim Ducks. Oskar Sundqvist, Brayden Schenn and Zach Sanford each had a goal for St. Louis, which is 6 for 10 with the man advantage against Anaheim this season. St. Louis has won all four meetings against the Ducks this year and six of their last seven dating to last season. Max Comtois and Rickard Rakell scored for Anaheim, which is 0-6-2 in its last eight games.
– Mikko Rantanen scored twice and had two assists as the Colorado Avalanche beat the San Jose Sharks 4-0. Philipp Grubauer made 26 saves for his 14th career shutout and the Avalanche got payback for a 6-2 loss Monday night in San Jose. Gabriel Landeskog added a goal and three assists for Colorado, which went 3-1 on its road trip and pulled into a three-way tie for third place in the West Division with Arizona and Minnesota.
– Clayton Keller and Nick Schmaltz scored power-play goals in the second period, and Antti Raanta made 40 saves in the Arizona Coyotes’ 3-2 victory over the Los Angeles Kings. Johan Larsson scored 13 seconds after Schmaltz’s goal, and the Coyotes snapped a two-game skid by hanging on in the final minute of their only road game in a 27-day span. Drew Doughty scored a power-play goal and Jonathan Quick stopped 20 shots for the Kings. Gabriel Vilardi added a goal in the third, but the Kings took a late penalty and couldn’t get a last-ditch equalizer.
– Jimmy Vesey scored twice, Frederik Andersen made 26 saves in his return from an injury and the NHL-leading Toronto Maple Leafs completed a three-game sweep of the Edmonton Oilers with a 6-1 victory. John Tavares and Zach Hyman each had a goal and an assist, and William Nylander and Ilya Mikheyhev also scored to help Toronto improve to 18-4-2. The Maple Leafs outscored the Oilers 13-1 in the three games, winning 4-0 on Saturday night and 3-0 on Monday night. NHL scoring leader Connor McDavid was held without a point for the Oilers.
Hurricanes’ Niederreiter fined for interfering with Saros
UNDATED (AP) – Carolina forward Nino Niederreiter (NEE’-dur-eye-tur) has been fined $5,000 for interfering with Nashville goaltender Juuse Saros (YOO’-see SAH’-rohs). That’s the maximum allowable under the collective bargaining agreement.
Niederreiter hit Saros up high in a collision behind the net five minutes into the Hurricanes-Predators game Tuesday night. He was given a two-minute minor penalty for roughing. Saros remained in net for the rest of the first period before being replaced by Pekka Rinne (PEH’-kuh REE’-nay) to start the second.
Elsewhere in the NHL:
– Boston Bruins forward Charlie Coyle has entered the NHL’s COVID-19 protocol, upping the number of players on the list to four, pending test results from Anaheim and the Los Angeles Kings. Coyle becomes just the second Bruins’ player added to the protocol, and first since Karson Kuhlman spent the first two days of the season on the list in January. He also becomes the 132nd player to spend at least one day in the protocol. Coyle’s addition comes a day after Pittsburgh captain Sidney Crosby and Nashville’s Ryan Johansen entered the protocol.
Nationals lefty Jon Lester to have thyroid gland removed
UNDATED (AP) – Washington Nationals manager Dave Martinez says left-hander Jon Lester will have surgery to have a thyroid gland removed.
Lester will leave spring training in West Palm Beach, Florida, and fly to New York for the procedure. Martinez says the 37-year-old starting pitcher is expected to be back at camp in about five to seven days. The starting pitcher originally was scheduled to make his first appearance for Washington in a Grapefruit League game Thursday.
In 2006, Lester’s rookie season with the Boston Red Sox ended early because he was diagnosed with a form of lymphoma. He had chemotherapy and returned the next season.
Lester is entering his 16th year in the majors and first with Washington. He was a free agent and joined the Nationals on a $5 million, one-year contract after playing the past six seasons with the Chicago Cubs.
In other MLB news:
– New York Yankees manager Aaron Boone is taking a leave of absence from the team to get a pacemaker and intends to return to work in a few days. Bench coach Carlos Mendoza took over as acting manager for Wednesday night’s exhibition against Toronto in Tampa. The 47-year-old Boone is entering his fourth season as Yankees manager.
– Houston Astros left-hander Framber Valdez has a fractured left ring finger, an injury that could deal another blow to the team’s banged-up starting rotation. The 27-year-old was hurt Tuesday on the fifth pitch of his spring training debut on a one-hopper off the bat of the New York Mets’ Francisco Lindor (lihn-DOHR’). Valdez stayed in the game and finished two innings. Houston already is missing ace Justin Verlander, who probably will miss the entire season following Tommy John surgery.
– Arizona Diamondbacks outfielder Tim Locastro has tested positive for COVID-19. Manager Torey Lovullo says Locastro tested positive on Tuesday night and would be out for 10 days unless it was a false positive. The 28-year-old Locastro is expected to have a sizable role with the Diamondbacks this season, either as the starting center fielder or a versatile backup outfielder.
– Veteran left-hander Gio Gonzalez has agreed to terms on a minor league contract with the Miami Marlins and will take part in their major league camp. The 35-year-old has a career record of 131-101 with a 3.70 ERA in 13 seasons for four teams and is a two-time All-Star.
– A person familiar with the situation says infielder Eric Sogard and the Chicago Cubs have agreed to a minor league contract, pending a physical. The 34-year-old hit .209 with one home run and 10 RBIs in 43 games for Milwaukee last season.
– Joe Altobelli, the manager who led the Baltimore Orioles to their most recent World Series title in 1983, has died at the age of 88. Altobelli was hired by the Orioles before the 1983 season and immediately found success. The team’s roster included future Hall of Famers like first baseman Eddie Murray, shortstop Cal Ripken Jr. and pitcher Jim Palmer. The Orioles won the World Series by beating the Philadelphia Phillies in five games.
Raiders GM Mike Mayock: ‘Jury is still out’ on Trent Brown
UNDATED (AP) – Las Vegas Raiders general manager Mike Mayock says the “jury is still out” on whether highly paid right tackle Trent Brown will be back in 2021 after being limited by injuries in his first two seasons with the team.
The Raiders gave Brown a $66 million, four-year contract in free agency in 2019 to be the anchor of the line. But after a strong start to his tenure, Brown has been hampered by various injuries and a bout with COVID-19.
He managed to be healthy enough to play at least 10 snaps in just 14 of 32 games since joining the Raiders.
Elsewhere in the NFL:
– The Minnesota Vikings don’t plan to drop quarterback Kirk Cousins, according to general manager Rick Spielman in comments made Wednesday. In his first media availability regarding the roster since the season ended, Spielman said “Kirk Cousins is our quarterback. I know there’s a lot of rumors floating around out there, but Kirk Cousins is our quarterback. We felt that he played very well, probably the best that he’s ever played down that stretch last year”.
– The New Orleans Saints cut eight-year veteran tight end and special teams regular Josh Hill and also voided the contract of Jared Cook, who was due to become a free agent this offseason. The decision to release the 6-foot-5, 250-pound Hill saves the Saints about $2.6 million in salary cap space for the coming season. The termination of Cook’s contract was a formality but also signifies the Saints’ intention to let Cook test the free-agent market rather than proactively looking to extend him after a season in which he caught 37 passes for 504 yards and seven touchdowns.
– Former NFL player Kellen Winslow II has been sentenced to 14 years in prison for multiple rapes and other sexual offenses against five women in Southern California. The sentence was the maximum allowed under a plea deal.
Big East teams to get tickets for men’s hoops
UNDATED (AP) – The Big East Conference is going to provide a limited number of tickets to each of the participating teams in next week’s Big East men’s basketball tournament at Madison Square Garden.
The league says it will follow New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s recent announcement allowing partial spectator capacity at sporting events in the state.
There will be no public sale of tickets however. All tickets will be designated for use by the members of each school’s official travel party in order to permit families and guests of athletes, coaches and team staffs to attend the games.
In other college basketball news:
– The Atlantic Coast Conference has announced that Virginia Tech’s men’s basketball game at North Carolina State on Saturday has been canceled. The cancellation follows quarantining and a contract tracing review within the Virginia Tech men’s program. The team will adhere to the ACC’s outlined protocols.
Detectives look at SUV’s ‘black box’ from Tiger Woods crash
LOS ANGELES (AP) – Detectives are looking at data from the “black box” of Tiger Woods’ SUV to get a clearer picture of what occurred during the Southern California rollover crash last week that seriously injured the golf star.
The Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department says that traffic investigators executed a search warrant to retrieve the data from the device from the Genesis SUV that Woods was driving. Deputy Trina Schrader says there was no immediate information regarding what was found in the black box.
Woods suffered a serious leg injury when the SUV he was driving went off a Los Angeles County road and rolled over on a downhill stretch.
Mississippi House wants ban on transgender athletes on female teams
JACKSON, Miss. (AP) – The Mississippi House voted Wednesday to ban transgender athletes from competing on girls’ or women’s sports teams in the state’s schools and universities.
The bill heads to Republican Gov. Tate Reeves in the next several days, and he is expected to sign it into law. Mississippi is one of more than 20 states with lawmakers proposing restrictions on athletics or gender-confirming health care for transgender minors this year.
Democratic President Joe Biden signed an executive order Jan. 20 – the day he took office – that bans discrimination based on gender identity in school sports and elsewhere. The House voted 81-28 to pass Senate Bill 2536. Six representatives did not vote, and seven voted “present,” which counts neither for nor against the bill.