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#SportsReport: Celtics hold off Hornets; Grizzlies beat Knicks

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Jaren Jackson Jr. had 26 points and 10 rebounds, Ja Morant added 23 points and nine assists and the Memphis Grizzlies beat the New York Knicks 120-108 on Wednesday night.

Morant had some of his usual high-flying highlight plays, but shot just 9 for 27 from the field, missing all six 3-point attempts.

But the Grizzlies go well beyond their first-time All-Star. Rookie Ziaire Williams scored a season-high 21 points on 9-for-11 shooting, while Jackson, Desmond Bane and De’Anthony Melton all hit four 3-pointers.

Morant had his streak of 30-point games stopped at seven, but the Grizzlies bounced back from an overtime loss in Philadelphia on Monday night to win for the fourth time in five games.

In other NBA action:

Anthony Davis scored 30 points, Carmelo Anthony added 24 and the Los Angeles Lakers rallied in the fourth quarter to defeat the Portland Trail Blazers 99-94. Davis had 19 points and seven of his 15 rebounds in the final 12 minutes as the Lakers returned home with a win after going 2-4 on their Eastern road trip. The All-Star forward is averaging 29.3 points over his last three games. Norman Powell led the Trail Blazers with 30 points and tied a season high with five 3-pointers. Anfernee Simons added 19 points while Jusuf Nurkic had a double-double with 16 points and 13 rebounds. Portland has dropped three straight and five of its last six.

Trent Forrest had career highs of 18 points and eight assists to lead the Utah Jazz to a 108-104 victory over the Denver Nuggets. Mike Conley scored 17 points for Utah. Rudy Gay, Royce O’Neale, and Bojan Bogdanovic scored 15 points apiece. Six Jazz players scored in double figures. Utah won for just the third time in 14 games. The Jazz swept the season series against the Nuggets. Bryn Forbes scored 26 points to lead Denver. Monte Morris added 15 points, Will Barton scored 14 and Davon Reed 13 for the Nuggets.

Spencer Dinwiddie had a triple-double to lead the Washington Wizards to a 106-103 win over the Philadelphia 76ers. Dinwiddie had 14 points, 12 rebounds and 10 assists. Kyle Kuzma scored 24 points and the Wizards snapped a six-game losing streak. Joel Embiid had 27 points and 14 rebounds for the Sixers. Tyrese Maxey scored 22 points for the Sixers.

Josh Richardson made six 3-pointers and scored 23 points, Jayson Tatum hit two key free throws and finished with 19 points and the Boston Celtics held off the Charlotte Hornets 113-107, overcoming a career-best 38 points by LaMelo Ball. Marcus Smart scored 22 points and Jaylen Brown 15 for Boston, which won its third straight.

Lu Dort scored 30 points, including 14 straight for Oklahoma City in overtime, and rookie Tre Mann added a career-best 29 as the Thunder beat the Dallas Mavericks 120-114. The Thunder won their second consecutive game for their first winning streak since taking three straight Dec. 18-22. They avoided a four-game sweep in the season series. Luka Doncic scored 40 points for the Mavericks in the opener of a six-game homestand, their longest of the season.

Gary Harris scored 22 points and Wendell Carter Jr. had 19 points and 18 rebounds to rally the Orlando Magic past the Indiana Pacers 119-118. Harris scored 10 points in the fourth quarter, including two key 3-pointers. Indiana led by 17 midway through the third, but the margin had dwindled by the end of the period.

Christian Wood and rookie Jalen Green had 21 points each and the Houston Rockets snapped an 11-game home skid with a 115-104 win over the Cleveland Cavaliers. It’s the first win by the Rockets in Houston since a 114-104 victory over Brooklyn on Dec. 8 and it snaps a four-game losing streak overall.


Jaden Ivey scored 21 points and Zach Edey added a double-double of 14 points and 12 rebounds, leading No. 4 Purdue to an 88-73 win over Minnesota. Senior guard Eric Hunter Jr. scored a career-high 20 points and the Boilermakers had four players in double figures.

Purdue has won four straight and seven of eight.

Payton Willis scored 24 points and Jamison Battle added 21 for Minnesota, which lost its third straight.

In other college basketball action:

Justin Lewis had 19 points and nine rebounds, and No. 24 Marquette never trailed in an 83-73 victory over No. 12 Villanova. Marquette won for the eighth time in nine games and completed its first regular-season sweep of Villanova since 2011-12. The Golden Eagles won 57-54 at Villanova on Jan. 19 to snap the Wildcats’ 29-game winning streak on campus. Those two losses to Marquette represent Villanova’s only defeats in its last 11 games. It marks the first time any Big East team has swept a regular-season series from Villanova since Butler did it in 2016-17.

Davion Mintz scored 21 points off the bench, hitting a 3-pointer during a pivotal 11-2 run, and No. 5 Kentucky overcame nearly blowing a double-digit lead to survive Vanderbilt 77-70 for its third consecutive victory. The Wildcats twice led by 10 in the second half. Scotty Pippen Jr.’s had 33 points for his second 30-point outing this season against Kentucky, making 11 of 23 from the field.

Kofi Cockburn had 37 points and 12 rebounds and No. 18 Illinois beat No. 11 Wisconsin 80-67 on Wednesday night. Cockburn had 20 first-half points on 10-of-12 shooting, including two rim-rattling dunks. He finished 16 of 19, making his last five shots for the Illini. Johnny Davis led Wisconsin with 22 points and 15 rebounds.

Fabian White Jr. scored 16 of his career high-tying 21 points in the first half and No. 6 Houston beat Tulane 73-62 for its 11th straight victory. White, a fifth-year graduate senior, also surpassed 1,000 points in his career at Houston and finished with eight rebounds. The Cougars won their 37th straight home game — the second longest streak in the nation behind Gonzaga.

Zach Freemantle scored 23 points and No. 21 Xavier overcame a miserable 3-point shooting night to beat Butler 68-66. Xavier matched its season low in 3-pointers, going just 3 for 17. Chuck Harris and Jayden Taylor each scored 18 points for Butler. The Bulldogs trimmed a 15-point deficit to four points twice in the last minute before Taylor hit a 3-pointer at the buzzer.

In men’s college basketball, UMBC squeaked by UAlbany, 59-53, Syracuse held off NC State, 89-82, Vermont topped NJIT, 90-67, and New Hampshire bested Hartford, 70-64. On the women’s side, UConn defeated Creighton, 76-56, UAlbany outscored UMBC, 51-41, and Vermont took down NJIT, 56-30.

Texas A&M coach Jimbo Fisher is angry about rumors that booster-funded NIL deals are fueling the Aggies’ recruiting success. He called the speculation “garbage.” Texas A&M came into the day with the top-rated class in the country, ahead of Southeastern Conference rivals Alabama and Georgia. Fisher says rumors of huge cash payouts were insulting to the players and his staff and he called rival coaches who perpetuated them “clown acts.”

In other college sports news:

Tennessee State’s president says Jackson State’s decision to withdraw from the Southern Heritage Classic “insensitive and irresponsible," particularly with three years still left on the contract. The Southern Heritage Classic has been played in Memphis at the Liberty Bowl Memorial Stadium since 1990.

Jim Harbaugh will stay at Michigan after all. He has ended his dalliance with a return to the NFL after interviewing with the Minnesota Vikings for their head coach vacancy. Harbaugh withdrew from consideration and will be back at his alma mater for an eighth season.

Saying the decision was not made lightly, the America East conference has barred Stony Brook from all future championships. The move announced Wednesday comes a week after the Long Island SUNY school disclosed plans to leave for the Colonial Athletic Association. The America East Conference also includes the University of Vermont, the University at Albany, and the University of Hartford. In a statement, the conference says Stony Brook was a member of the America East in 2005 when it supported enacting the rule, which was used to punish Boston University upon its departure a decade ago. The decision comes a month out from the college basketball championships.


Ryan Nugent-Hopkins broke a tie with a short-handed goal with 4:03 remaining in the Edmonton Oilers’ 5-3 victory over the Washington Capitals in the final game for both teams before the All-Star break.

Nugent-Hopkins added an empty-net goal with 1:05 remaining to wrap up the Oilers’ fifth victory in six games. Washington played without Alex Ovechkin after he entered the NHL’s COVID-19 protocols Wednesday. The Russian star also will miss the All-Star Game. Forward Tom Wilson will replace him.

Leon Draisaitl, Evander Kane and Connor McDavid scored goals in the first 5:07 to give the Oilers a 3-0 lead.

Mikko Koskinen stopped 24 shots. Lars Eller, Conor Sheary and Evgeny Kuznetsov scored for Washington.

In other NHL action:

Christopher Tanev scored the go-ahead goal and had three assists, Blake Coleman scored twice, and the Calgary Flames beat the Arizona Coyotes 4-2 for their fifth win in six games. Elias Lindholm also scored, and Jacob Markstrom had 24 saves for Calgary. The Flames had 50 shots against Coyotes’ goaltender Karel Vejmelka, who faced a franchise-record 26 shots in the first period and made a franchise-record 24 saves. Clayton Keller and Alex Galchenyuk scored for the Coyotes. Keller had a goal and an assist to extend his points-streak to six games.

Cam Talbot made 30 saves for his first shutout of the season and the Minnesota Wild beat the Chicago Blackhawks 5-0 Wednesday night to extended their points streak to 10 games. Mats Zuccarello, Kevin Fiala and Frederick Gaudreau each had a goal and an assist for surging Minnesota. The Wild head into the NHL’s All-Star break on a 9-0-1 roll. Fiala extended his career-high points streak to 12 games, matching Mikael Granlund’s Wild record set in 2017. Kirill Kaprizov scored his team-leading 19th goal to stretch his career-best points streak to eight games. Nico Sturm also connected to help Minnesota improve to 3-0-0 against fading Chicago.

Jared McCann had a goal and an assist, and Philipp Grubauer stopped 19 shots for the first shutout in franchise history as the expansion Seattle Kraken beat the New York Islanders 3-0. Mason Appleton had a goal and an assist and Vince Dunn also scored to help Seattle to its third win in seven games. Grubauer got his 19th career shutout.

Phillip Danault scored twice, including the go-ahead goal in the third period, and the Los Angeles Kings finished off a highly successful six-game trip with a 5-3 victory over the Detroit Red Wings. Arthur Kaliyev, Victor Arvidsson and Adrian Kempe also scored for the Kings, who went 4-0-2 on their road swing. Jonathan Quick, who is 6-1 in his last seven games against Detroit, made 22 saves.

Chicago Blackhawks owner Rocky Wirtz has apologized after he angrily rejected any conversation connected to the franchise’s response when a player said he was sexually assaulted by an assistant coach. Wirtz made his remarks at a town hall.

It was the first time the franchise’s top leaders had faced questions in public since the team published a report by an outside law firm that found the organization badly mishandled Kyle Beach’s allegations that he was assaulted by then-video coach Brad Aldrich during the team’s run to the 2010 Stanley Cup title.

Wirtz says his response to two questions by reporters “crossed the line”

In other NHL news:

NHL players and coaches are welcoming the more lenient COVID-19 protocols announced earlier this week. The league and players’ union agreed to drop daily testing requirements for fully vaccinated players, citing a “declining positivity rate” in virus cases.


Brian Flores says his lawsuit against the NFL alleging racist hiring practices will continue even if he becomes a head coach again this offseason because the league needs change.

According to the lawsuit, Dolphins owner Stephen Ross told Flores he would pay him $100,000 for every loss during the coach’s first season because he wanted the club to “tank” so it could get the draft’s top pick. The lawsuit alleges that Ross also pressured Flores to recruit a prominent quarterback in violation of the league’s tampering rules. It says that when Flores refused, he was portrayed as an “angry Black man” who is difficult to work with and was derided until he was fired.

Flores was fired last month after leading the Dolphins to a 24-25 record over three years.

In other NFL news:

Pittsburgh Steelers senior defensive assistant Teryl Austin says the NFL needs to keep finding opportunities for coaches of color. Austin, who is Black, says he has been interviewed for an NFL head coaching vacancy 11 times and has yet to be hired.

Saints general manager Mickey Loomis said the club remains “in the middle” of its coaching search after interviewing three candidates whom Loomis described as “all very impressive," including former Dolphins coach Brian Flores. The Saints have also interviewed former Philadelphia coach Doug Pederson and Detroit defensive coordinator Aaron Glenn. They also plan to interview more candidates including New Orleans defensive coordinator Dennis Allen and Saints special teams coordinator Darren Rizzi.

The Cleveland Browns says suggestions by former coach Hue Jackson that he was paid by the team to lose games are “completely fabricated.” Jackson, who is now coaching at Grambling, made several posts on Twitter inferring that he received bonus payments from Browns owner Jimmy Haslam during his two-plus seasons with the team. Jackson was fired eight games into the 2018 season. He went 3-36-1 with Cleveland, losing all 16 games in 2017.

The Chicago Bears have hired Alan Williams as defensive coordinator under new coach Matt Eberflus. The Bears also added Dave Borgonzi and Chris Morgan to their staff today.

Mike Macdonald was hired as Baltimore’s new defensive coordinator after a year at Michigan. Macdonald replaces Don Martindale, who was fired after four seasons.

Washington’s NFL team is now called the Commanders. Washington joins Major League Baseball’s Cleveland Guardians among North American major professional sports teams abandoning names linked to Native Americans.


The NCAA generated more than $1.15 billion in revenue in 2021, returning to normal after the cancellation of the men’s basketball tournament because of the pandemic in 2020 cost the association and its member schools $800 million.

The majority of the revenue is distributed back to its more than 1,200 member schools. The 350 Division I schools that can participate in the basketball tournament earn the bulk of it, mostly through shared payouts to conferences.


Bobsledder Elana Meyers Taylor, who was chosen to be a flagbearer for the U.S. Olympic team, won't be able to attend the opening ceremony for the Winter Games because she’s in isolation after a positive COVID-19 test. two days after arriving in Beijing.

Speed skater Brittany Bowe will take Meyers Taylor’s place in Friday’s ceremony. She will be joined by John Shuster, who will become the first curler to carry the American flag in an opening ceremony.

In other Olympics news:

About 150,000 spectators are expected to be invited to attend events at the Beijing Olympics. Plans to sell tickets to international visitors were scrapped last year because of the coronavirus pandemic. The block was extended in January to residents of China. Details of the invitation plan was given to a meeting of IOC members. The invited guests will include staff of diplomatic missions in Beijing and local school children.

The three-day torch relay for the Beijing Olympics has started with an 80-year-old former speedskater carrying the flame. The torch will be carried through the three Olympics zones, starting with downtown Beijing.

Competition at the Beijing Olympics began Wednesday with four curling stones sliding down sheets of ice in the venue where Michael Phelps won a record eight swimming gold medals at the Summer Olympics 14 years ago. Curling is being held on four sheets of ice at the Ice Cube, which was converted from the Water Cube, the swimming and diving venue for the 2008 Summer Games.

The 2,900 or so competitors at the Winter Games have to make themselves available for unannounced doping control visits and that puts them at greater risk of catching COVID-19 and possibly ruling them out of their event. The agency that oversees sample collection at the Olympics says the daily virus tests add extra psychological weight and uncertainty.

And The Empire State Winter Games kick off Thursday night with opening ceremonies in Lake Placid. The games are an annual Olympic style competition for youth that utilize Olympic and other sporting venues in Lake Placid and the Adirondacks

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