#SportsReport: Nets defeat Pistons; Bucks squeak by 76ers
Giannis Antetokounmpo scored 40 points and had a game-deciding block of Joel Embiid in the final seconds to lead the Milwaukee Bucks to a 118-116 victory over the Philadelphia 76ers in a matchup of two of the Eastern Conference’s top teams. Khris Middleton scored 22 points and Jrue Holiday had 18 for the Bucks, who pulled within a half-game of idle Miami for first place in the East. James Harden had 32 points and nine rebounds for the 76ers, and Embiid recovered from a slow start and finished with 29 points.
In other action:
Paul George scored 34 points in his return after missing three months and the Los Angeles Clippers rallied from a 25-point deficit to beat the Utah Jazz 121-115. Reggie Jackson added 21 points for the Clippers, who snapped a five-game skid after trailing by 16 points in the fourth. Donovan Mitchell scored 33 points and Mike Conley added 19 points for the Jazz, who dropped their fifth in a row. The Clippers outscored Utah 39-21 in the fourth, when they trailed by 16 points.
Kevin Durant scored 41 points and the Brooklyn Nets rallied past the Detroit Pistons 130-123. Kyrie Irving added 24 points in his second home appearance since New York exempted athletes from a private employer mandate for COVID-19 vaccinations last week. Andre Drummond had 14 points and 13 rebounds as Brooklyn overcame a double-digit deficit in the second quarter. Cade Cunningham led the Pistons with 34 points.
DeMar DeRozan scored 14 of his 32 points in the fourth quarter, and the Chicago Bulls pulled away for a 107-94 victory over the Washington Wizards. Nikola Vucevic scored 27 points for Chicago, which is trying to stay in the top six in the Eastern Conference and avoid the play-in round of the postseason. The Bulls took a half-game lead on Toronto for fifth place in the East.
Luka Doncic scored 34 points in a triple-double and the Dallas Mavericks routed the Lakers 128-110 with Los Angeles missing LeBron James because of an ankle issue. LA is also anticipating the return of long-injured Anthony Davis. The Lakers are tied with San Antonio for the final play-in spot in the Western Conference with seven games remaining for both teams.
Auston Matthews scored his league-leading 49th goal and added an assist as Toronto ended Boston’s four-game winning streak with a 6-4 victory. Matthews’ goal late in the second period was the fourth of five straight scored by the Maple Leafs, who held a 6-1 lead and flustered the Bruins into a string of retaliatory hits and penalties. Colin Blackwell scored his first goal since joining Toronto in a trade at the deadline and the Leafs got a goal and assist each from Morgan Rielly, Alexander Kerfoot and Mitchell Marner.
Elsewhere in the NHL:
Roope Hintz and Jacob Peterson scored in the third period to help the Dallas Stars rally for a 3-2 win against the Anaheim Ducks. Radek Faksa had a goal, Jake Oettinger made 26 saves and the Stars moved one point ahead of Vegas for the second wild-card from the Western Conference with three games in hand. Troy Terry scored his 31st goal, Derek Grant had a goal and an assist, but the Ducks lost their 10th straight game.
Valeri Nichushkin scored twice and Darcy Keumper stopped 44 shots as the Colorado Avalanche edged the Calgary Flames 2-1 in a matchup of Western Conference division leaders. Tyler Toffoli scored for Pacific Division-leading Calgary. Jacob Markstrom stopped 28 shots.
Frank Vatrano and Braden Schneider scored less than five minutes apart in the second period, and the New York Rangers beat the Pittsburgh Penguins 3-2. Chris Kreider added his 45th goal in the third as the Rangers topped Pittsburgh for the second time in five days. Igor Shesterskin made 22 saves, Sidney Crosby scored his 25th goal and Brian Boyle got his ninth for the Penguins.
Marc-Andre Fleury made 32 saves and won his second straight start for Minnesota, and the Wild extended their winning streak to seven games with a 4-1 victory over the Philadelphia Flyers. Matt Dumba, Kirill Kaprizov, Jordan Greenway and Kevin Fiala scored for the Wild. The victory ended a streak of three consecutive overtime wins by the score of 3-2 for Minnesota. The Flyers lost their third straight.
Michael McCarron scored twice and Juuse Saros made 36 saves to lead the Nashville Predators over the Ottawa Senators 4-1. Tanner Jeannot and Matt Duchene also scored and Mattias Ekholm had three assists for Nashville, winners of two straight. Brady Tkachuk scored and Anton Forsberg made 28 saves for Ottawa, which has lost four of five.
Steven Stamkos scored a power-play goal 52 seconds into overtime and had two regulation assists as the Tampa Bay Lightning beat the Carolina Hurricanes 4-3. Stamkos got the winner from the slot off Nikita Kucherov’s third assist of the game. Alex Killorn, Victor Hedman and Brayden Point also scored, and Andrei Vasilevskiy made 16 saves for the Lightning. Carolina got goals from Nino Niederreiter, Seth Jarvis and Sebastian Aho, and Antti Raanta stopped 28 shots.
Jonathan Huberdeau and Ryan Lomberg both had two goals and an assist to lead the Florida Panthers past the Montreal Canadiens 7-4. Sam Bennett and Aleksander Barkov each added a goal and an assist for the Atlantic Division leaders, who are tied with Carolina for the top playoff seed in the Eastern Conference. Both teams have 96 points, though Florida has a game in hand.
Stretching the salary cap into the playoffs was one of the subjects touched on by the NHL’s 32 general managers at their annual meetings in Florida.
NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman says the system has worked well since the league’s hard cap was introduced in 2005. Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly outlined how the league approaches players on long-term injured reserve when their expected date of return falls around the start of the playoffs to ensure everything is above board. Any change would have to be collectively bargained with the NHL Players’ Association.
Frank Martin was introduced as the new UMass men’s basketball coach Tuesday. Martin’s hiring was announced Friday, days after he parted ways with South Carolina after 10 years. Martin led Kansas State to the NCAA Tournament Elite Eight in 2010 and the Gamecocks to the Final Four in 2017. Martin says getting the Minutemen to their first NCAA Tournament since 2014 is the goal. The 56-year-old replaces Matt McCall, who was fired after five seasons.
After losing Stony Brook University to the Colonial Athletic Association, the America East Conference is adding Bryant University in all sports starting July 1st. The private college in Rhode Island says it will remain in the Northeast Conference for the rest of the spring season. Since jumping to Division I in 2008, Bryant’s 25 programs have competed in the NEC. The men’s basketball team reached the NCAA Tournament this month for the first time. The America East Conference includes the University at Albany, Hartford, Vermont, Binghamton, New Hampshire, UMass Lowell, Maine and UMBC.
The NFL is changing its sometimes controversial overtime rules to guarantee each side gets the ball in the playoffs.
Concerned that the coin toss to begin the extra period has too much impact on postseason game results, the owners voted Tuesday to approve a proposal presented by the Colts and Eagles. Beginning this season, if the team possessing the ball first in overtime scores a touchdown on that series, the opponent still gets a possession. In recent seasons, that touchdown would have ended the game.
In other NFL news:
The Baltimore Ravens have signed coach John Harbaugh to a three-year contract extension through 2025. Harbaugh is entering his 15th season at the helm. Baltimore went 8-9 in 2021 for only the second losing record of his tenure. Injures derailed what looked like a promising season. The Ravens are 148-96 under Harbaugh, plus a Super Bowl victory at the end of the 2012 season. He also guided Baltimore to the AFC title game in 2008 and 2011. In nine visits to the postseason, Harbaugh is 11-8. He was the AP’s NFL coach of the year in 2019.
Atlanta Falcons owner Arthur Blank says the team had only preliminary interest in dealing for Deshaun Watson before the quarterback accepted a trade to Cleveland. Blank says more investigation into the sexual misconduct allegations made by nearly two dozen women against Watson while he was with the Houston Texans would have been necessary before Atlanta’s interest could have become more serious.
The Chicago Bears have signed veteran quarterback Trevor Siemian to a two-year contract to back up Justin Fields. Siemian has appeared in 33 games and started 29 while throwing for 6,843 yards, 41 touchdowns and 27 interceptions for the Denver Broncos, New York Jets and New Orleans Saints.
The Cleveland Browns have agreed to terms with free agent center Ethan Pocic. He’ll compete with Nick Harris for the starting job. Pocic was selected in the second round of the 2017 draft by Seattle and started 40 games for the Seahawks.
The Jacksonville Jaguars have reupped their commitment to playing annually at Wembley Stadium in London. The Jaguars received formal approval at the NFL owners meetings in Palm Beach, Florida, to move forward with a three-year contract to play at Wembley.
The Arizona Diamondbacks have decided to anchor their offensive future around Ketel Marte’s ample talents.
The club announced on Tuesday that it had agreed to a $76 million, five-year deal with Marte that begins in the 2023 season and includes a team option for the 2028 that could be worth up to $13 million. Marte batted .318 with 29 doubles and 14 homers last season despite being limited to 90 games because of hamstring injuries.
In other news from spring training:
Former Miami Marlins and Detroit Tigers pitcher José Ureña has signed a minor league contract with the Milwaukee Brewers. The 30-year-old Ureña went 4-8 with a 5.81 ERA for the Tigers last season in 26 appearances, including 18 starts. Ureña pitched for the Marlins from 2015-20.
The Chicago White Sox have acquired outfielder Adam Haseley in a trade with the Philadelphia Phillies. Chicago sent minor league pitcher McKinley Moore to Philadelphia for Haseley, a .264 hitter over parts of three big league seasons.
Corbin Burnes’ Cy Young Award-winning performance last year has resulted in him getting the opening day assignment for the Milwaukee Brewers this season. Brewers manager Craig Counsell announced Tuesday that Burnes would start the Brewers’ April 7 opener against the Chicago Cubs at Wrigley Field. T
The World Series champion Atlanta Braves’ season opener against the visiting Cincinnati Reds will be televised nationally by ESPN2 on April 7. Coming off their first title since 1995, the Braves will raise their championship banner before the game, which will be pushed back slightly from its intended 7:20 p.m. Eastern start.
Daniil Medvedev is one win away from returning to No. 1. The top-seeded Medvedev shook off a slow start and reached the quarterfinals of the Miami Open by defeating Jenson Brooksby of the U.S. 7-5, 6-1. Medvedev has yet to drop a set in his three Miami matches. He’ll face No. 8 seed and defending Miami champion Hubert Hurkacz in the quarters.
In the women’s draw, Naomi Osaka beat Danielle Collins in straight sets to reach the semifinals. Osaka hasn’t won a title since last year’s Australian Open.
Tiger Woods is at Augusta National and the golf world is wondering: Will he play in the Masters?
Various plane-tracking websites showed a Gulfstream registered to Woods leaving South Florida for Augusta on Tuesday, and a Twitter account showed the private jet on the runway. That ramped up speculation Woods might play the Masters just 14 months after he shattered his right leg in a car crash.
Lorena Ochoa already is in the World Golf Hall of Fame. Now she’s going into the LPGA Hall of Fame.
The Mexican star met all the requirements except for a 10-year career, but the LPGA has now lifted that requirement. Ochoa retired after seven years to start a family. The LPGA also is inducting the remaining eight of the 13 founders who were not already in the Hall of Fame.
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