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#SportsReport: Winter Olympics begin in Beijing

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NBA:

The Phoenix Suns’ 11-game winning streak is over following a 124-115 loss to the Hawks in Atlanta.

The Hawks made 20 of 41 3-pointers, with Trae Young providing six. Young poured in 43 points, and Kevin Huerter hitting five treys and scoring 19 points.

The Hawks have won eight of their last nine games, with their only loss coming when Young was held out with a right shoulder contusion.

Phoenix lost for the first time since Jan. 8 and fell to 41-10, still tops in the NBA. It was the Suns’ second double-digit winning streak of the season. Devin Booker led the Suns with 32 points, Mikal Bridges had 24 and Chris Paul 18.

Checking out Thursday’s other NBA action:

Klay Thompson drained his first seven shots overall, including six 3-pointers on the way to 23 points and seven assists in the Warriors’ 126-114 decision over the Kings. Thompson knocked down three straight from deep early in the second as Golden State began the period on a 9-2 burst to build a 43-25 lead. Thompson finished 8 for 11 from the floor with seven 3s in the Warriors’ eighth straight win.

Pascal Siakam and Chris Boucher each had double-doubles as the Raptors downed the Bulls, 127-120 in overtime. Siakam finished with 25 points and 14 rebounds, while Boucher had 16 points and 10 boards. Scottie Barnes scored 21 points, including the go-ahead basket with 1:44 left in OT.

Tyler Herro scored 24 points and the Heat ended a three-game losing streak by whipping the Spurs, 112-95. Bam Adebayo added 18 points and 11 rebounds for Miami, which led by as many as 26. Jimmy Butler added 17 points before sitting out the fourth quarter with the game out of reach.

Reggie Jackson scored 25 points, including a driving layup with four seconds remaining in the Clippers' 111-110 triumph over the Lakers. Marcus Morris Sr. led the Clippers with 29 points, while Serge Ibaka added 20 points and nine rebounds. Morris made six 3-pointers, including one from the left corner that gave the Clippers a 109-108 advantage with 18 seconds remaining.

The Timberwolves earned their third straight win as Anthony Edwards delivered 25 points, and Karl-Anthony Towns had a double-double in a 128-117 victory against the Pistons. Towns added 21 points and 14 rebounds to help Minnesota hand Detroit its sixth loss in seven games. Taurean Prince added 23 points in the victory.

The NBA has announced the reserves for the Feb. 20 All-Star game.

Heat forward Jimmy Butler, Cavaliers guard Darius Garland and Nets guard James Harden are on the Eastern Conference team along with Bucks forward Khris Middleton, Celtics forward Jayson Tatum, Raptors guard Fred Van Vleet and Bulls swingman Zach LaVine.

Van Vleet is the first undrafted player to be selected to an NBA All-Star team since Detroit’s Ben Wallace in 2003.

Phoenix guard Devin Booker will come off the Western Conference bench, as will Dallas guard Luka Doncic, Warriors forward Draymond Green, Jazz center Rudy Gobert (goh-BEHR’), Jazz guard Donovan Mitchell and Timberwolves center Karl-Anthony Towns.

Basketball Hall of Fame head coach Bill Fitch has died at 89.

Fitch was the original coach of the Cleveland Cavaliers and guided the Boston Celtics to the 1981 NBA Championship. His 25-year NBA coaching career also included stops with the Houston Rockets, New Jersey Jets and Los Angeles Lakers before retiring in 1998.

No cause of death was given.

NFL:

Doug Pederson was the first person interviewed when the Jacksonville Jaguars opened their head coaching search on Dec. 30. He now has the job.

Pederson waited more than month for a callback, got a second interview Tuesday and landed the job two days later. He led the Eagles to their lone Super Bowl victory four years ago and takes over for Urban Meyer, who was fired after 13 games and countless missteps in what will go down as one of the worst coaching tenures in NFL history.

Broncos president of football operations John Elway is disputing Brian Flores’ contention that his interview for Denver’s head coaching vacancy in 2019 was a sham and only conducted to meet the league’s Rooney Rule requirement.

Elway says he seriously considered Flores for the job. He also disputes Flores’ contention that he appeared to be hung over and was an hour late for his interview with Flores in a Providence, Rhode Island, hotel. Elway says if he and CEO Joe Ellis appeared disheveled it was because they had flown through the night after interviewing another candidate in Denver.

Flores, who was recently fired as Miami’s head coach, has named the Broncos, Dolphins and Giants along with the NFL in a lawsuit alleging unfair hiring practices.

Also on Thursday, Pittsburgh Steelers owner Art Rooney II defended the Rooney Rule while acknowledging it hasn’t led to more minority head coaches. Rooney said there’s been “marked improvement” in the hiring of women and minorities in other key leadership roles on coaching staffs and in the front office. His late father Dan Rooney was the driving force behind the rule, which requires NFL teams to interview minority candidates for head coaching and senior football operation jobs.

In other NFL news:

The Broncos have promoted Darren Mougey from player personnel director to assistant general manager. The 36-year-old former college quarterback and wide receiver will continue overseeing the pro and college scouting departments while working with GM George Paton on player personnel and college scouting decisions.

The NFL won’t sign off on a Super Bowl watch party at Cincinnati’s Paul Brown Stadium. The league sent a letter to stadium officials saying the legal and logistical barriers are too great to allow a broadcast of the game on the stadium’s big screens. The stadium will be the site of a fan rally on Monday, six days before the Bengals play the Rams at SoFi Stadium near Los Angeles on Feb. 13.

The lawyer for former Raiders player Henry Ruggs has told a judge he has received body-worn camera video from police who arrived after a high-speed crash that killed a woman. The former NFL wide receiver didn’t have to appear in court Thursday with his attorney ahead of a March 10 preliminary hearing. Ruggs faces prison if he’s convicted of DUI causing death.

COLLEGE BASKETBALL:

Arizona came away with a victory in a Pac-12 matchup of top-10 teams.

Kerr Kriisa scored 16 points and hit a big 3-pointer as the seventh-ranked Wildcats knocked off No. 3 UCLA, 76-66. Dalen Terry flirted with a triple-double as he chipped in 10 points, nine rebounds and seven assists.

Jules Barnard scored 15 points for the Bruins and Johnny Juzang had 12 after missing two games in COVID-19 protocols.

UCLA beat Arizona, 75-59 in their first meeting of the season on Jan. 23.

Also on Thursday’s top-25 men’s basketball schedule:

Chet Holmgren had 23 points and 12 rebounds as second-ranked Gonzaga rolled to its 11th consecutive win, 92-62 at San Diego. Drew Timme (TIH’-mee) added 13 points and eight rebounds as six Bulldogs scored in double figures. Andrew Nembhard had 14 points and seven assists.

Boogie Ellis scored 21 points, including five free throws in the final minute of No. 19 Southern California's 58-53 victory at Arizona State. Isaiah Mobley’s tough basket in the post tied it 51-all with a minute left. Mobley finished with 12 points for the 19-3 Trojans, who have won five of their last six.

MLB:

Major League Baseball has asked a federal mediator to intervene in stalled labor negotiations that likely will put off the start of spring training. On the 64th day of a lockout, MLB Deputy Commissioner Dan Halem asked the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service to enter the dispute.

An agreement by the players’ association is needed for the federal conciliation service to enter talks. The union declined comment and its lawyers were expected to consult with players.

There is now almost no hope spring training workouts will start as scheduled on Feb. 16. Baseball’s ninth work stoppage will soon threaten opening day on March 31.

Also in baseball:

Five major league pitchers are on the government’s witness list for the trial of a former Angels employee accused of providing Angels pitcher Tyler Skaggs with the drugs that caused his overdose death. A filing by federal prosecutors says former Angel and current Red Sox hurler Garrett Richards would testify that Eric Prescott Kay once asked him for unused oxycodone pills. Kay’s trial is scheduled to start Tuesday in Fort Worth after several postponements. He faces charges of drug distribution and drug conspiracy in Skaggs’ death.

OLYMPICS:

Three-time men’s figure skating world champion Nathan Chen has delivered a strong short program to open the team competition at the Beijing Games. That gets the Americans off to a good start in their pursuit of a third straight medal in the event.

Chen opened with a big quad flip and hit his difficult quad lutz-triple toe loop combination to deliver the highest score among the men Friday and give the U.S. the maximum 10 points.

Reigning Olympic silver medalist Shoma Uno was second to give Japan nine points. Eighteen-year-old Mark Kondratiuk was third for the Russian Olympic Committee, which is favored to win the team event.

After Chen's performance, Madison Hubbell and Zachary Donohue delivered a season-best performance in rhythm dance, giving Team USA a second straight win on the opening day of figure skating.

In other Olympic news:

The U.S. men’s hockey team has held its first pre-Olympic practice in Beijing without two top defenseman and a veteran forward following positive tests for COVID-19. Defenseman Jake Sanderson remains in Los Angeles, while defenseman Steven Kampfer and forward Andy Miele are isolating in the Olympic Village in Beijing.

U.S. women’s hockey star Brianna Decker will miss the rest of the Olympics after injuring her left leg in the Americans’ tournament-opening victory against Finland. The forward was hurt when she was tripped from behind midway through the first period Thursday night.

Organizers say nine more athletes and officials tested positive for COVID-19 in cases confirmed on Thursday, raising the total to 111 since the Olympic period started on Jan. 23. Seven cases were detected at the Beijing airport, making it 77 out of 5,255 athletes and officials who arrived through Thursday.

NHL:

Pat Verbeek is the new general manager of the Anaheim Ducks. He replaces Bob Murray, who resigned Nov. 10 and entered a treatment program for alcohol abuse amid allegations of misconduct.

Verbeek spent the past three seasons as the Red Wings’ assistant general manager under Steve Yzerman. Verbeek worked the previous nine seasons for Yzerman with the Lightning as their assistant general manager and director of player personnel.

PGA:

Tom Hoge made the last of six straight birdies with a 40-foot putt on the daunting eighth hole, giving him a one-shot lead at Pebble Beach.

The birdie run to a 9-under 63, by four shots is his best score at the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am.

Seamus Power is in second. He birdied his last four holes at Spyglass Hill, traditionally the toughest of the three courses in benign conditions. It was the only course that played over par Thursday.

LPGA:

American Marina Alex closed with a birdie on the par-5 18th for a 7-under 65 and a share of the first-round lead with Japan’s Nasa Hataoka in the LPGA Drive On Championship at Crown Colony.

Alex birdied all four par-5 holes and had five birdies in a row on Nos. 9-13 in her bogey-free morning round. Hataoka finished with a birdie on the par-5 ninth.

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