Update on the latest sports
Embiid, 76ers spoil Durant’s return to Nets’ lineup
UNDATED (AP) – The Philadelphia 76ers spoiled Kevin Durant’s return to the lineup by beating the Nets 110-102 in Brooklyn.
Joel Embiid (joh-EHL’ ehm-BEED’) scored 34 points, including converting a tiebreaking three-point play with 3:14 remaining.
Durant still had 33 points in his first game in two weeks, having missed three games in health and safety protocols.
Elsewhere in the NBA:
– The Milwaukee Bucks extended their winning streak to five games with a 136-118 victory over the Orlando Magic. Giannis Antetokounmpo (YAH’-nihs an-teh-toh-KOOM’-poh) led the Bucks’ scoring with 33 points, while Jrue Holiday added 25 and Khris Middleton 22.
– Bradley Beal had 29 points and 10 assists in his return from the NBA’s health and safety protocols, leading the Washington Wizards to a 110-93 victory over the Cleveland Cavaliers. In his first game action in 12 days, Beal played 34 minutes, shooting 13 of 23 from the floor. Cleveland played its first game since losing point guard Ricky Rubio for the season with a torn left ACL.
Golden State, Denver postponed
UNDATED (AP) – The NBA postponed Golden State’s game with Denver tonight, the same day that Philadelphia’s Doc Rivers and Denver’s Michael Malone entered the NBA’s health and safety protocols. That raised the total number of head coaches on that virus-related list to seven.
Rivers and Malone join the Los Angeles Lakers’ Frank Vogel, Chicago’s Billy Donovan, Phoenix’s Monty Williams, Portland’s Chauncey Billups and Oklahoma City’s Mark Daigneault in the protocols. Also in the protocols: around 120 players, along with an untold number of other staffers from around the league.
In other NBA news:
– A person familiar with the potential trade tells The Associated Press that the Cleveland Cavaliers have made progress in talks with the Los Angeles Lakers about a trade involving veteran point guard Rajon Rondo. Cleveland has been urgently looking for a guard since Ricky Rubio suffered a season-ending knee injury. The Cavs and Lakers are “trending” toward completing the trade, said the person who spoke on condition of anonymity because the teams have not yet reached an agreement. Rondo is in his first season with the Lakers. The 35-year-old is averaging 3.1 points and 3.7 assists in 18 games.
Panthers rout Lightning 9-3
UNDATED (AP) – Anthony Duclair scored twice, Jonathan Huberdeau had a goal and four assists, and the Florida Panthers romped to a 9-3 rout of the NHL-leading Tampa Bay Lightning.
Florida scored three times in each period against the two-time defending Stanley Cup champions and snapped Tampa Bay’s four-game winning streak. Eight Panthers in all scored, while Spencer Knight made 39 saves.
Tampa Bay lost for only the second time in 11 games this month.
In other NHL action:
– Carolina excelled on special teams in a 4-0 victory over the Montreal Canadiens. The Hurricanes scored three times on power plays and another time short-handed in their first game in nearly two weeks. Antti Raanta, usually the Hurricanes backup goalie, made 26 saves for his first shutout since February 2020.
– Gustav Nyquist scored in the fifth round of the shootout to give the Columbus Blue Jackets a 4-3 win over the Nashville Predators. Elvis Merzlikins made 31 saves for the Blue Jackets, who snapped a two-game skid.
– The New York Islanders beat the Buffalo Sabres 4-1 for their third victory in four home games. Mathew Barzal added a goal and two assists while Semyon Varlamov made 36 saves as the Islanders improved to 3-5-3 at UBS Arena after an 0-5-2 start in their ornate new home.
– The Los Angeles Kings snapped the Vancouver Canucks’ seven-game winning streak under new coach Bruce Boudreau with a 2-1 shootout victory. Adrian Kempe and Viktor Arvidsson scored in the shootout for L.A., while Jonathan Quick made 17 saves.
– The Calgary Flames beat the Seattle Kraken 6-4 in their first game in nearly three weeks. Matthew Tkachuk scored the go-ahead goal with 2:26 left and had two assists, while Johnny Gaudreau added two goals and assisted on the game-winner. Former Flames captain Mark Giordano had a goal and two assists in his first game against his old team.
– San Jose’s Tomas Hertl scored with 30.1 seconds remaining in overtime to spoil a dazzling debut by Philadelphia goaltender Felix Sandstrom in a 3-2 Sharks victory over the Flyers. The 24-year-old Sandstrom made 43 saves in his first NHL appearance, but couldn’t stop Hertl from close range on the deciding goal.
Wild sign coach Dean Evason, staff to multiyear extensions
ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) – The Minnesota Wild have signed coach Dean Evason and his staff to multiyear contract extensions.
Evason is in his second full season as Minnesota’s coach. The Wild have won 19 of their 30 games so far this season and are on their way to a third consecutive playoff appearance with Evason in charge. He replaced Bruce Boudreau in February 2020.
Assistant coaches Darby Hendrickson, Brett McLean and Bob Woods, goaltending coach Frederic Chabot and video coaches T.J. Jindra and Jonas Plumb were also extended.
COLLEGE FOOTBALL-BOWL SCHEDULE
Thorne leads No. 11 Spartans past No. 13 Pitt in Peach Bowl
UNDATED (AP) – Payton Thorne’s 22-yard touchdown pass to Jayden Reed gave No. 11 Michigan State the lead with less than three minutes remaining and the Spartans overcame an 11-point deficit to beat No. 13 Pittsburgh 31-21 in the Peach Bowl.
Linebacker Cal Haladay’s 78-yard interception return for a touchdown with 22 seconds remaining ended Pitt fill-in quarterback Davis Beville’s bid for a last-minute comeback.
Thorne threw two fourth-quarter touchdown passes as Michigan State rallied.
The Panthers played without star QB Kenny Pickett and lost fill-in starter Nick Patti to an injury in the first quarter.
In other college football bowl games:
– South Carolina coach Shane Beamer was rewarded with a bucket of mayonnaise dumped over his head, after the Gamecocks’ 38-21 victory over North Carolina in the Duke’s Mayo Bowl. Jaheim Bell had five catches for 159 yards and two touchdowns for South Carolina. Kevin Harris added 169 yards rushing and a score. By agreeing to the mayo bath, Beamer got $10,000 donated to a favorite charity.
– The Music City Bowl in Nashville went to overtime, with Purdue emerging the victor 48-45 over Tennessee. Mitchell Fineran kicked a 39-yard field goal for the win, as the Boilermakers finished off their best season since 2003 by overcoming a 14-point deficit.
– Braelon Allen ran for 159 yards and Wisconsin drained the final 9:57 off the clock with an 18-play drive that sealed a 20-13 victory over Arizona State in the Las Vegas Bowl. Allen, a 17-year-old true freshman, had 101 yards by halftime for his eighth 100-yard game of the season. The Badgers started the season 1-3 with Big Ten losses to ranked opponents Penn State and Michigan but answered with a seven-game winning streak to earn a 20th consecutive bowl bid.
Mayfield downplays death threats; Roethlisberger hints at goodbye
UNDATED (AP) – Browns quarterback Baker Mayfield is downplaying death threats he received following his four-interception performance at Green Bay.
In a Zoom call with reporters as Cleveland prepares to face Pittsburgh Monday night, Mayfield said his focus is solely on the Steelers and dismissed his social media critics as “keyboard warriors that make empty threats.”
Mayfield’s wife, Emily, first revealed the threats in an Instagram post earlier this week.
Mayfield has had a stormy, injury-slowed fourth season in Cleveland. He threw a career-high four picks in a 24-22 loss to the Packers on Christmas after missing two weeks of practice because of a positive COVID-19 test.
Elsewhere around the NFL:
– Ben Roethlisberger could be making his final start at Heinz Field when the Steelers host Cleveland on Monday night. The Pittsburgh quarterback says he never speaks “in definites or guarantees,” but adds “looking at the bigger picture, I would say that all signs are pointing that this could be it.” The 39-year-old insists he won’t make any final decisions until after the season, but the comment stands as his first public acknowledgement that Monday could be his final home game.
NFL-HALL OF FAME FINALISTS
Hall of Fame’s class of 2022
UNDATED (AP) – DeMarcus Ware, Andre Johnson and Devin Hester are finalists for the Pro Football Hall of Fame’s class of 2022, all in their first year of eligibility. The 15 modern-day players who will be considered on Jan. 18 by the selection committee include tackle Tony Boselli and defensive lineman Richard Seymour.
Other finalists announced Thursday are safety Leroy Butler, wide receivers Torry Holt and Reggie Wayne, linebackers Sam Mills and Zach Thomas. They are all finalists for the third time.
Defensive linemen Jared Allen and Bryant Young and cornerback Ronde Barber are two-time finalists. Tackle Willie Anderson and linebacker Patrick Willis are first-time finalists.
Slater, David 4th-time nominees for NFL sportsmanship award
NEW YORK (AP) – Matthew Slater and Lavonte David are nominees for the fourth time for the NFL’s Art Rooney Sportsmanship Award.
The league Thursday announced the eight finalists for the honor that recognizes players who best demonstrate the qualities of on-field sportsmanship, including fair play, respect for the game and opponents, and integrity in competition.
Joining Slater, a wide receiver and special teams standout for New England, and Tampa Bay linebacker David are Buffalo quarterback Josh Allen, Houston receiver Brandin Cooks, Miami defensive back Jason McCourty, New Orleans defensive end Cameron Jordan, San Francisco fullback Kyle Juszczyk (YOOS’-chehk) and Minnesota wideout Adam Thielen. Juszczyk is a finalist for the second consecutive season. Allen, Cooks, McCourty, Jordan and Thielen are first-time nominees.
A panel of former players selected the eight finalists from the 32 team nominees. The winner will be determined by a vote of current NFL players.