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WAMC Sports Report 2/28/23: Knicks win sixth straight


In the NBA

Final       New York  109  Boston  94       

Julius Randle and Immanuel Quickley each scored 23 points, and the surging New York Knicks knocked the Boston Celtics out of the top spot in the NBA with their sixth straight victory, 109-94. Celtics All-Star Jayson Tatum struggled through a 6-for-18 shooting performance and was ejected in the fourth quarter after picking up his second technical foul. He finished with 14 points, nine assists and seven rebounds. Jalen Brunson added 17 points for the Knicks, who inched ahead of Brooklyn into fifth place in the Eastern Conference. The Celtics slipped behind Milwaukee, which has won 14 straight games.

Final       Miami   101         Philadelphia       99          

Jimmy Butler hit an acrobatic reverse layup in the final minutes, and his 23 points led five Miami players in double figures as the Heat edged the Philadelphia 76ers 101-99. James Harden had a chance to win the game for the 76ers, but his 3-point try at the buzzer bounced off the back of the rim. Gabe Vincent scored 14 points and Bam Adebayo added 13 as the Heat snapped a four-game losing streak. Joel Embiid led all scorers with 27 points and 12 rebounds. Harden finished with 20 points and 12 assists.

Meanwhile, LeBron James of the Los Angeles Lakers may miss multiple weeks with an injury to his right foot. The full extent of the injury is not yet known and more test results are pending. That's according to a person familiar with the situation who spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because neither James nor the Lakers had announced anything about a long-term absence. The Lakers had already ruled James out Tuesday's game at Memphis with what they called right foot soreness. James is the NBA's all-time leading scorer and is trying to lead the Lakers into the playoffs.

Two people with knowledge of the negotiations say Cleveland Browns owners Jimmy and Dee Haslam have agreed to purchase Marc Lasry’s 25% stake of the Milwaukee Bucks in a deal that puts the value of the NBA franchise at $3.5 billion. The agreement has not been finalized. The people spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because neither the Bucks nor the Haslams publicly disclosed any element of the agreement. The Haslams would be spending about $875 million for Lasry's stake of the team. It would be the second-highest valuation in NBA history, behind the $4 billion valuation for the Phoenix Suns and Phoenix Mercury when Mat Ishbia acquired them in a deal that closed this month.

In the NHL

Final       Boston  3  Edmonton           2             

Pavel Zacha scored the tiebreaking goal late in the second period and the league-leading Boston Bruins beat the Edmonton Oilers 3-2 night for their seventh straight win. Nick Foligno and Tomas Nosek also scored for the Bruins, and Dmitry Orlov had two assists for his first points since being acquired from Washington last week. Jeremy Swayman stopped 22 shots to win his third straight start and eighth in his last 10. Connor McDavid scored twice to reach the 50-goal mark for the first time in his career for the Oilers, who have lost two straight in regulation after a five-game point streak (2-0-3). Stuart Skinner had 25 saves.

The Toronto Maple Leafs have acquired forward Sam Lafferty and defenseman Jake McCabe from the Chicago Blackhawks. Their latest big trade comes the day after division-rival Tampa Bay paid a hefty price to acquire forward Tanner Jeannot from Nashville. Talent continues to flow to Eastern Conference contenders ahead of the NHL trade deadline Friday. In recent days, New Jersey got big winger Timo Meier from San Jose and Boston traded with Washington for Garnet Hathaway and Dmitry Orlov.


The Washington Commanders have released quarterback Carson Wentz. The expected move comes after their one-season experiment with Wentz did not work out. Washington was able to get out of the final two years of Wentz's contract without any salary cap penalty. Wentz threw for 11 touchdowns and nine interceptions in eight games, including three picks in a late-season loss to Cleveland that contributed to knocking the Commanders out of playoff contention. Wentz could be on his fourth NFL team in as many years if he's signed as a free agent. The team also released veteran safety Bobby McCain.

In MLB Spring Training Action

Final Boston 4 Minnesota 1

Final N.Y. Yankees 8 Detroit 5

Final Philadelphia 9 Pittsburgh 7

Final St. Louis 12 N.Y. Mets 7

New York Mets right-hander Max Scherzer described pitching under Major League Baseball’s new rules as a “cat-and-mouse” game. Contrary to previous years, Scherzer feels the pitcher finally has control of the tempo because of the new pitch clock. In his first start of the Grapefruit League schedule, Scherzer was touched for a run in the second inning but struck out five while working the first two innings of the Mets’ 6-3 win over Washington. The average game time through three days of spring training is 2 hours, 39 minutes, down from an average of 3:01 for all of spring training last year.

So far, baseball's new speed-up rules are working. The first-ever major league pitch clock and other rules have helped cut more than 20 minutes from spring training games through the first weekend. The average time of game has dropped from 3 hours, 1 minute last spring to 2:39. Players and umpires are still adjusting to the rules. In the Cubs game against the Diamondbacks, both pitcher Joe Mantiply and batter Brennen Davis were penalized for being too slow at the start of the third inning, so Davis' at-bat started with a count of 1-1.

Major League Baseball’s average salary rose 14.8% to a record $4.22 million last year after the end of the lockout, boosted by big deals for Max Scherzer, Francisco Lindor, Marcus Semien and Corey Seager. The rate of increase was the highest since a 17.7% increase in 2000 to $1.61 million, according to final calculations by the players’ association. The average had dropped in each of the previous four seasons before 2022, sparking player anger that was expressed by the union during a 99-day lockout that ended last March.

FIFA awards

World Cup winner Lionel Messi has won FIFA’s Best Men’s Player award for 2022. Spain’s Alexia Putellas won FIFA’s Best Women’s Player award for the second straight time. Messi won the voting over Kylian Mbappé and Karim Benzema. Putellas won the women's voting over Alex Morgan of the United States and England’s Beth Mead. Argentina coach Lionel Scaloni has been voted FIFA men’s coach of the year after leading his team to the World Cup title in December. The women’s coach award went to Sarina Wiegman after she led England to the title at the Women’s European Championship.

College Basketball

The final week of the regular season is here, the calendar rounding toward March Madness. A handful of regular-season titles are already wrapped up. Several are still up in the air, like the Atlantic Coast and Big 12 conferences. No. 25 Pittsburgh has a half-game lead over No. 16 Miami in the ACC with a game against the Hurricanes on Saturday. No. 3 Kansas leads No. 9 Texas by a game in the Big 12 and will play the Longhorns on Saturday. Top-ranked Houston and No. 4 UCLA are among the teams that have already clinched regular-season titles.

(C) 2023 Associated Press

A 2022 Siena College graduate, Alexander began his journalism career as a sports writer for Siena College's student paper The Promethean, and as a host for Siena's school radio station, WVCR-FM "The Saint." A Cubs fan, Alexander hosts the morning Sports Report in addition to producing Morning Edition. You can hear the sports reports over-the-air at 6:19 and 7:19 AM, and online on WAMC.org. He also speaks Spanish as a second language. To reach him, email ababbie@wamc.org, or call (518)-465-5233 x 190. You can also find him on Twitter/X: @ABabbieWAMC.