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#SportsReport: Boston Celtics pummel 76ers

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OLYMPICS:

The United States is off to a good start to Wednesday’s Olympic schedule at Beijing.

Freestyler skier Alex Hall led a 1-2 American finish in the men’s Olympic slopestyle competition with a trick on his first run where he stopped his rotation mid-air and seemed to float in the other direction before softly landing.

Hall’s opening run drew a score of 90.01 — a score no one could match. His teammate Nick Goepper turned in a creative run on his second pass to earn silver. Jesper Tjader of Sweden took home bronze.

The Americans have now captured six of nine Olympic medals since the event made its debut in 2014. Goepper has three of them.

Also in Beijing:

Canada beat the United States 7-6 in women’s curling to move ahead of the Americans in the race for the four-team playoff. Canada retained the last-rock advantage in the 10th and final end, though, and delivered an easy draw to win it. The Americans fell to 4-4 but could still qualify for the semifinals with five wins if they beat Japan Wednesday night and get some help.

NBA:

The Boston Celtics are within 3 1/2 games of first place in the NBA’s Eastern Conference following their most lopsided win ever against the Philadelphia 76ers.

Jaylen Brown scored 26 of his 29 points by halftime of the Celtics’ season-high ninth straight win, a 135-87 blowout over the 76ers.

Jayson Tatum added 28 points, 12 rebounds and six assists in Boston’s largest margin of victory in its 457 meetings with the Sixers. The 48-point difference topped the 37-point rout of the 76ers in December 1987.

The Celtics did little wrong to start, making 22 of 39 first-half shots to carry a 27-point lead into the locker room.

Joel Embiid’s string of 25-point performances has ended at 31 games. The Sixers center finished with 19 points and nine rebounds.

Checking out Tuesday’s other NBA action:

Devin Booker provided 26 points and Chris Paul added 17 with 14 assists as the Suns won for the 17th time in their last 18 games, 103-96 against the Clippers. Mikal Bridges added 19 points and nine rebounds for Phoenix, which leads the league at 47-10. Marcus Morris Sr. led the Clippers with 23 points while Nicolas Batum (bah-TOOM’) had 18.

Giannis Antetokounmpo poured in a season-high 50 points and pulled down 14 rebounds to lead the Bucks past the skidding Pacers, 128-119. Antetokounmpo was two points shy of his career high after sitting out Monday’s game due to a sore ankle. The Bucks swept the four-game season series from the Pacers and have won eight straight against their Central Division foe.

The Grizzlies were 121-109 winners over the Pelicans as Tyus Jones scored a career-high 27 points to go with eight assists while filling in for All-Star Ja Morant. Jaren Jackson added 23 points and ex-Pelican Steven Adams had 14 points and 13 rebounds for Memphis, which led for nearly the entire game and by double digits for more than half of it. The Grizzlies have won six straight and nine of 10.

Luka Doncic scored 21 points and the Mavericks improved to 17-6 since January 1 by topping the Heat, 107-99. Jalen Brunson and Maxi Kleber each finished with 19 points and Dorian Finney Smith had 14 points for Dallas. Jimmy Butler scored a game-high 29 points for Miami, which fell into a first-place tie with Chicago in the Eastern Conference.

The Cavaliers have their first losing streak since Dec. 31 after Trae Young scored 41 points and Danilo Gallinari added 25 in the Hawks’ 124-116 downing of Cleveland. In a matchup of All-Star guards, Young had 23 points and six assists in the first half while Darius Garland had 18 points with three assists. Garland finished with 30 points and Evan Mobley added 21 for the Cavs.

Karl-Anthony Towns had 39 points and 15 rebounds while D’Angelo Russell chipped in 18 points and 11 assists as the Timberwolves rallied past the slumping Hornets, 126-120 in overtime. Minnesota came back from a 13-point deficit in the fourth, but Miles Bridges tied the game for Charlotte with a 3-pointer and free throw in the final minute. Bridges had 28 points and 13 rebounds for the Hornets, who have lost eight of nine.

NBA:

James Harden has been introduced in Philadelphia following last week’s blockbuster trade that sent disgruntled former 76ers guard Ben Simmons to the Brooklyn Nets. Harden is set to make his Sixers debut on Feb. 25 at Minnesota. He is sitting out through the All-Star break because of a hamstring injury.

Meanwhile, Simmons says his mental health struggles began well before the 76ers’ season ended and he didn’t believe he’d be able to overcome them in Philadelphia. He’s eager to begin moving on with the Nets, though he isn’t sure yet when he will join them on the court. The former No. 1 overall pick hasn’t played since the 76ers were beaten by Atlanta in Game 7 of the Eastern Conference semifinals.

COLLEGE BASKETBALL:

Villanova won a top-10 matchup as the 10th-ranked Wildcats held off no. 8 Providence, 89-84.

Collin Gillepsie hit five 3-pointers and scored a career-high 33 points, including a key trey with 23 seconds left.

Justin Moore added 19 points for the Wildcats who went 11 of 23 from beyond the arc and won their fourth straight. Villanova is 13-3 in the Big East.

The loss snapped the eight-game win streak by the conference-leading Friars, who dropped to 11-2 in the Big East.

Nate Watson led Providence with 20 points.

Also on the top-25 schedule on Tuesday:

Santiago Vescovi scored 18 points and Chandler Kennedy added 17 to lead 16th-ranked Tennessee to a 76-63 victory over No. 4 Kentucky. Zakai Zeigler and John Fulkerson each added 14 points as the Volunteers ran their home record to 14-0 this season with their eighth straight SEC victory.

Mark Williams dunked in Paolo Banchero’s missed drive with 0.4 seconds left to help ninth-ranked Duke beat Wake Forest 76-74. Williams had 16 points and 10 rebounds for the Blue Devils, who spent the second half without head coach Mike Krzyzewski due to illness.

Johnny Davis scored 30 points, including the final 13 for No. 15 Wisconsin in a 74-69 comeback victory over Indiana. Brad Davison added 21 points and seven boards for the 20-5 Badgers.

E.J. Liddell contributed 16 points and 10 rebounds in leading No. 18 Ohio State to a 70-45 stifling over Minnesota. Malaki Branham added 11 points on 4-for-7 shooting for the Buckeyes, who actually trailed by two at halftime before holding the Gophers to 20 points the rest of the way.

Seth Lundy drained a go-ahead 3-pointer with 1:37 remaining and finished with 17 points as Penn State beat 19th-ranked Michigan State 62-58. John Harrar had 16 points and 16 rebounds in the Nittany Lions’ first win over a ranked team under first-year coach Micah Shrewsberry.

Timmy Allen and Andrew Jones each scored 20 points for No. 20 in an 80-78 overtime victory against Oklahoma. Marcus Carr and Christian Bishop each scored 16 points for the Longhorns.

Jaelen House pumped in 34 points and New Mexico played stingy defense to beat No. 22 Wyoming, 75-66.

Stanley Umude scored 23 points to lead 23rd-ranked Arkansas to a 76-57 victory over Missouri.

Baylor big man Jonathan Tchamwa Tchatchoua (CHAM’-wah CHAH’-choo-ah) has undergone season-ending surgery to repair multiple ligaments in his left knee.

The junior forward got hurt without any contact in the first half of Baylor’s 80-63 win over No. 20 Texas on Saturday. Tchatchoua was going down the court after a missed shot by the Bears when his left leg turned awkwardly and he crumbled to the floor in obvious pain.

NHL:

Sidney Crosby has reached another milestone.

The Pittsburgh Penguins’ captain notched his 500th career goal in a 5-4 overtime win against the Flyers. Crosby became the 46th player in league history to reach the 500-goal milestone when he beat Carter Hart from the goal line on the power play at 16:34 of the first period.

But the Pens needed Kris Letang’s goal 31 seconds into the extra period for their fourth straight win. Letang and Crosby also had assists.

Jake Guentzel and Chad Ruhwedel scored 18 seconds apart in the third period to erase Pittsburgh’s two-goal deficit.

Elsewhere on ice:

Joe Pavelski had two goals and two assists as the Stars ended Colorado’s 19-game point streak, 4-1. The Avalanche hadn’t lost in regulation since Dec. 16, when the Predators beat them 5-2 in Nashville. It was Colorado’s first defeat at home in regulation since losing to Vegas 3-1 on Oct. 26, the team’s third home game of the season.

Victor Hedman, Nikita Kucherov (KOO’-cheh-rahv) and Pierre-Edouard Bellemare scored in a 3:04 span of the third period, sending the Lightning past the Devils, 6-3. Steven Stamkos and Alex Killorn had scored in a 41-second span late in the second period to tie the game at 3-all before Tampa Bay improved to 8-2-1 in its last 11.

The Rangers picked up their third straight win as K’Andre Miller scored in the ninth round of a shootout to lead a 2-1 decision over the Bruins. Filip Chytil scored in the third period and Igor Shesterkin stopped 31 shots to win for the 10th time in 11 starts.

The Capitals knocked off the Predators, 4-1 as Alex Ovechkin scored a pair of goals, including his 30th of the season. Joe Snively and Nick Jensen also scored, and Ilya Samsonov made 33 saves for Washington, which has won two of their last three. Washington’s victory gave coach Peter Laviolette his 700th career win.

Tyler Toffoli scored in his Calgary debut and the Flames won their season-high seventh straight game by defeating the Blue Jackets 6-2. Erik Gudbranson, Elias Lindholm, Matthew Tkachuk (kah-CHUHK'), Dillon Dube and Adam Ruzicka also scored for Calgary which moved a point ahead of Vegas for the Pacific Division lead. Rookie goaltender Dan Vladar made his first start in 39 days and finished with 18 stops, improving to 7-3-1.

Vladimir Tarasenko scored twice and had an assist in the Blues’ 5-2 downing of the Senators. Tarasenko’s first goal put the Blues up 2-1 in the second period, and his second was an empty-netter. Brayden Schenn, Robert Thomas and Oskar Sundqivst also scored for the Blues, and Ville Husso made 18 saves.

Kailer Yamamoto scored the tiebreaking goal with 4:46 remaining and the Oilers improved to 3-0 under new coach Jay Woodcroft with a 5-2 win over the Kings. Connor McDavid and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins each had a goal for the Oilers, who also received empty-netters from Zach Hyman and Evander Kane. Mike Smith made 30 saves to get the victory.

Victor Olofsson scored twice, including the go-ahead goal with 2:55 left in the Sabres’ second straight win, 6-3 versus the Islanders. Alex Tuch (tuhk) added a goal and assist against the Isles, who finished 1-3 on their road trip after winning the opener.

MLB:

The longtime face of the Washington Nationals has made his final putout.

First baseman Ryan Zimmerman has announced his retirement, ending a decorated career in which he became the franchise leader in many major categories and boosted the team to its only World Series championship in 2019. The 37-year-old Zimmerman was the first player drafted by the Nationals, picked fourth overall in June 2005 during their first season after moving from Montreal to Washington.

He batted .277 in 16 seasons with a career .341 on-base percentage and .475 slugging percentage. Zimmerman set Nationals career records with 284 homers, 1,061 RBIs, 1,846 hits and 1,799 games played.

COLLEGE FOOTBALL:

Baylor football coach Dave Aranda has agreed to a contract extension through the 2028 season.

The extension comes after he led the Bears to a Big 12 championship and a school-record 12 wins capped by a Sugar Bowl victory on New Year’s Day. They ended the season ranked fifth in the AP Top 25 poll.

Also in college football:

Conference USA released a football schedule for the 2022 season that included 14 teams, saying it will “exhaust all necessary legal actions” to keep Southern Mississippi, Old Dominion and Marshall from leaving the league. Those three schools accepted invitations to the Sun Belt during the fall and each announced last week they planned to terminate memberships in C-USA on June 30 to join their new conference this year. C-USA says the three schools are contractually obligated to stay put for another year.

The University at Albany Great Danes, a Football Championship Subdivision program that went 2-9 last season, will start on Sept. 3 in Waco, Texas against Baylor, a Big 12 program that finished last year ranked fifth in the country.

NASCAR:

Michael McDowell has opened the first Daytona 500 practice session with a top speed of 192.736 mph, the first time NASCAR showed off its new car at the track ahead of Sunday’s sold-out race.

McDowell was last season’s stunning winner who beat 100-1 odds to become Daytona 500 champion. He helped Ford sweep the top five spots Tuesday in a draft-heavy session at Daytona International Speedway.

The stakes are raised Wednesday night for qualifying.

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