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#SportsReport: Knicks earn a wild win against Celtics

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NBA:

The New York Knicks earned a wild win against the Boston Celtics on Thursday.

Evan Fournier poured in 41 points against his former team, and RJ Barrett nailed a 3-pointer at the buzzer as the Knicks rallied to beat the Celtics, 108-105. Fournier was 15 of 25 from the field and hit 10 of his 14 3-point attempts. Julius Randle finished with 22 points and eight rebounds for the Knicks, who trailed by 16 at halftime before outscoring Boston, 61-42 the rest of the way. Fournier delivered 22 points in the second half.

Jayson Tatum scored 36 points for the Celtics, who wasted a 24-point lead. Tatum tied it on a long step-back jumper with just over a second to play.

Checking out Thursday’s other NBA action:

Chris Paul had a triple-double with 14 points, 13 rebounds and 10 assists to help the short-handed Suns beat the Clippers, 106-89. Cam Johnson added a career-high 24 points, and Jalen Smith had another good game with 19 points and 14 rebounds.

Brandon Ingram broke out of a shooting slump with 32 points and the Pelicans snapped a three-game skid with a 101-96 victory over the Warriors. Ingram hit 12 of 20 shots after going 8 of 36 in his previous two games combined, helping New Orleans drop Golden State one game behind Phoenix for the league’s best record.

The Grizzlies notched their seventh straight win as Ja Morant gave them 22 points, nine rebounds and six assists in a 118-88 thrashing of the Pistons. Dillon Brooks finished with 18 points, while Tyus Jones and rookie Ziaire Williams added 14 points apiece for Memphis.

Golden State Warriors guard Stephen Curry and team rebounding leader Draymond Green sat out Thursday’s game at New Orleans.

Curry injured his left quad muscle when he banged legs with Dallas forward Dorian Finney-Smith during a loss at Dallas on Wednesday night. Green is nursing a left hip injury.

In other NBA news:

Jazz center Rudy Gobert has tested positive for COVID-19 again. The NBA shut down for months after he tested positive in March 2020.

The Bucks have waived DeMarcus Cousin, a little over a month after signing the veteran center. The 31-year-old Cousins averaged 9.1 points, 5.8 rebounds and 16.9 minutes in 17 games after signing with the Bucks on Nov. 30. He had 15 points and 10 rebounds in 20 minutes during Wednesday’s loss to Toronto.

COLLEGE BASKETBALL:

Fifth-ranked UCLA was able to ease back onto the basketball court after a 25-day absence caused by COVID-19.

Jules Bernard scored 22 points and Johnny Juzang (JOO’-zang) added 18 as the Bruins ripped Long Beach State, 96-78. Bernard’s points were one off his career high and his four 3-pointers tied his career best.

The general public was barred from the hastily arranged game between two teams that already met this season. The Beach were beaten 100-79 at Pauley Pavilion on Nov. 15.

Also on Thursday’s top-25 schedule:

No. 7 Southern Cal is 13-0 after Isaiah Mobley scored 19 points and grabbed nine boards in a 77-63 victory at Cal. Drew Peterson furnished 17 points and nine rebounds in the win.

Trayce Jackson-Davis provided 27 points on 11 of 17 shooting to carry Indiana’s 67-51 win over 13th-ranked Ohio State. The Hoosiers pulled away down the stretch with a 13-0 run while holding the Buckeyes without a field goal for more than five minutes.

No. 23 Wisconsin earned its fourth straight win as Johnny Davis provided 26 points and nine rebounds in an 87-78 decision over Iowa. The Badgers withstood a 27-point performance from Iowa’s Keegan Murray to snap the Hawkeyes’ four-game winning streak.

In men’s college basketball, Binghamton defeated UAlbany, 88-79, and Vermont topped New Hampshire 82-68. Two UAlbany games have been rescheduled that were canceled due to COVID-19. UAlbany will play Vermont on January 31st and will square off against the Catamounts on February 14th. On the women’s side, Boston College outscored Syracuse, 95-71

NFL:

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers have officially severed ties with Antonio Brown.

The Bucs have terminated the contract of the mercurial receiver who claimed on Wednesday that he was fired in the middle of last Sunday’s game against the Jets for not playing through an ankle injury.

Brown removed his jersey, shoulder pads, undershirt and gloves, then left the field after a sideline exchange with coach Bruce Arians, who said afterward that the player was no longer part of the team.

Brown has a long history of troubled behavior on and off the field.

In other NFL news:

Broncos quarterback Teddy Bridgewater says he still wants to play football beyond this season despite suffering two concussions. His contract with Denver ends this winter but he wants to play a ninth NFL season, even if that’s for a fifth team.

The Bears have placed quarterback Justin Fields on the reserve/COVID-19 list, likely sidelining him for the finale and ending his rookie season. The Bears expected Fields to start at Minnesota on Sunday after missing the previous two games because of an ankle injury.

The Chiefs will likely be without running back Clyde Edwards-Helaire for the second straight week. Edwards-Helaire hurt his shoulder early in the second half of a romp over the Steelers on Dec. 26. Kansas City hopes to have him back for the playoffs.

Former college and NFL coach Greg Robinson has died at 70 from a form of Alzheimer’s Disease. Robinson won two Super Bowl rings as defensive coordinator for the Denver Broncos in the late 1990s and also served in the same role for the New York Jets and Kansas City Chiefs.

NHL:

The Pittsburgh Penguins are owners of a 10-game winning streak for the sixth time in franchise history.

Jake Guentzel and Bryan Rust each scored twice for the Penguins in a 6-2 thumping of the Flyers. Rust has keyed the recent surge with seven goals in the last three games since he returned from an 11-game absence with an undisclosed injury. Evan Rodrigues scored his 15th goal in the third and Brian Boyle also scored a short-handed goal in the period to turn this one into a rout.

The Penguins won the second game of a back-to-back and haven’t lost since Dec. 1 against Edmonton.

Elsewhere on NHL ice:

The Avalanche rolled over the Jets, 7-1 as Gabriel Landeskog notched his fourth career hat trick and had an assist. Nathan MacKinnon had a goal and four assists, and Mikko Rantanen added a goal and two assists to give Colorado’s top line 12 points on the night.

Nikita Kucherov had a pair of nifty assists in his return from a lengthy injury, sparking the Lightning’s three-goal third period in a 4-1 verdict over the Flames. Corey Perry, Brayden Point, Ondrej Palat and Alex Killorn scored to help Tampa Bay become the first NHL team to reach 50 points for the fourth time in the last five seasons.

Kirill Kaprizov scored for the fourth straight game and the Wild halted a five-game skid by defeating the Bruins, 3-2. Matt Boldy got a goal in his NHL debut as the Boston College alum made it 3-1 midway through the second period.

Filip Forsberg had a goal and an assist for his third straight multi-point outing, sending the Predators to a 4-2 win at Los Angeles. Forsberg has a league leading 12 goals since Nov. 30 as Nashville has gone 11-2-1 in its last 14 games to grab the lead in the Central Division.

Jonathan Marchessault scored twice and Robin Lehner made 18 saves as the Golden Knights whipped the Rangers, 5-1 to end a two-game slide. Mark Stone, Mattias Janmark and Brett Howden also tallied for Vegas.

Jamie Benn had a goal and an assist two days after coming out of COVID-19 protocols, guiding the Stars to a 6-5 shootout win against the Panthers. Joe Pavelski and Jason Robertson scored on the only two shots in the shootout for the Stars while Braden Holtby stopped both Florida shots to end the game.

Johan Larsson scored his first three goals of the season for his first career hat trick as the Coyotes dealt the Blackhawks their sixth consecutive loss, 6-4. Dysin Mayo, Travis Boyd and Clayton Keller also scored in Arizona’s league-low seventh win.

The Sharks ended a two-game skid as Adin Hill made 37 saves in a 3-2 decision over the Sabres. Tomas Hertl had a goal and an assist for San Jose, which also received tallies by Matt Neito and Timo Meier.

The Devils won for the fourth time in five games as Jesper Bratt furnished the go-ahead goal in the third period of their 3-1 win against the Blue Jackets. Jack Hughes had a goal and two assists to back MacKenzie Blackwood’s 31-save effort.

Anaheim’s game against visiting Detroit was postponed to Sunday because of COVID-19-related issues affecting the Ducks. Anaheim placed center Sam Carrick, goaltender John Gibson, defenseman Hampus Lindholm and right wing Vinni Lettieri into the NHL’s COVID-19 protocols.

Goalkeeper Tuukka Rask is getting closer to returning to the Boston Bruins after signing a professional tryout agreement with Providence of the American Hockey League.

Rask is currently a free agent, but he has spent 14 seasons with the Bruins and is the franchise’s leader in wins. He is coming back from offseason labrum surgery on his hip.

He says he expects to play two games in Providence before working out a deal to join the Bruins.

Elsewhere around the NHL:

The Kraken will be without forward Jaden Schwartz for at least a month due to a hand injury that will require surgery. Schwartz has not played since being injured on Dec. 29 against Philadelphia. He has six goals and 14 assists in 29 games for Seattle.

MLB:

Former New York Mets acting general manager Zack Scott has been cleared of drunken driving charges stemming from his arrest last August after he attended a fundraiser at team owner Steve Cohen’s house.

Scott was arrested Aug. 31 after police found him asleep at the wheel of his sport-utility vehicle at a traffic light. Scott was placed on leave by the Mets and later fired. Scott said he was thankful for the verdict.

NCAA:

The NCAA has updated its pandemic-related protocols for winter sports athletes and teams to reflect the latest CDC guidelines.

The biggest recommendation is a booster for those who are beyond two months of receiving the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, five months of receiving the Pfizer or six months of receiving the Moderna vaccine. For those athletes and staff, a booster shot is required to be considered fully vaccinated.

The NCAA also says five days of quarantine are suggested after a positive test instead of 10 days. That matches recent federal guidance from the CDC.

TENNIS:

Locked in a dispute over his COVID-19 vaccination status, Novak Djokovic (NOH’-vak JOH’-kuh-vich) is confined to an immigration detention hotel in Australia as he awaits a ruling on whether can compete in the Australian Open later this month.

The No. 1 men’s tennis player in the world is a vocal skeptic of vaccines. He obtained a medical exemption to Australia’s strict vaccination rules before setting out for Australia. But when he arrived, border authorities rejected it. Djokovic is now awaiting a court hearing on Monday in his bid to stave off deportation.

PGA:

Cameron Smith is the first-round leader in the PGA’s first event of the year, the Sentry Tournament of Champions.

Smith had a pair of long eagle putts to lead at 8-under 65 on a gentle, gorgeous day in Hawaii.

Patrick Cantlay and Jon Rahm didn’t need much time to get back into the swing of competition Thursday in the Sentry Tournament of Champions.

Coming off the longest voluntary breaks of their careers, Cantlay overcame a bogey start with flawless play at Kapalua for a 7-under 66. Rahm had a 67 despite failing to capitalize on two of the par 5s.

Ryder Cup captain Steve Stricker is recovering from a health scare that featured a soaring white blood cell count and inflammation around his heart. The situation hospitalized him for two weeks and caused him to lose 25 pounds.

Stricker said his heart was jumping in and out of rhythm from Thanksgiving to Christmas Eve. He said the inflammation is starting to abate and he’s able to start moving around.

OLYMPICS:

Snowboarding star Shaun White told Olympics.com that he tested positive last month after competing in an event in Colorado. The 35-year-old was symptomatic but has been cleared to compete in a qualifying event this weekend at Mammoth Mountain, the last qualifying event for the U.S. Olympic Team.

SPORTS BETTING NEW YORK:

Mobile sports betting can begin in New York this weekend, according to the state gaming commission. The commission says four betting operators are approved to begin transactions as of 9 a.m. Saturday. The approved vendors are Caesars Sportsbook, DraftKings, FanDuel and Rush Street Interactive. The commission says five other operators that received conditional approval will be issued the go-ahead on a rolling basis. In the Northeast, New York joins Connecticut, New Hampshire, Pennsylvania and New Jersey with legal sports betting. Rush Street, which operates Rivers Casino in Schenectady, says it will launch its mobile BetRivers sportsbook Saturday morning.

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