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#SportsReport: Nets beat Rockets; 76ers top the Pacers

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Joel Embiid had 45 points and 13 rebounds, and the Philadelphia 76ers made a franchise-record 17 3-pointers in the first half of a 131-122 victory over the Indiana Pacers that moved them into a tie with Boston atop the Atlantic Division.

Embiid banked in a 3-pointer at the halftime buzzer and shot 18 for 30 overall while moving into the NBA scoring lead with 30.4 points per game.

He had 27 points and seven rebounds in the first half, helping Philadelphia take control with a 49-point second quarter that led to an 82-59 halftime lead. Buddy Hield scored 25 points for Indiana.

In other NBA action:

Devin Booker scored 32 points and the Phoenix Suns won their franchise-record 63rd game of the season, beating a Lakers team minus LeBron James 121-110 to eliminate Los Angeles from the playoff race. It was a tight game during the first half but Phoenix used a 29-9 run in the third quarter to create separation. The rest of the game was essentially a celebration for the Suns, who danced and dunked their way past the forlorn Lakers. Los Angeles — playing without James for a second straight game because of a sprained ankle — has lost seven straight.

CJ McCollum and Jaxson Hayes each scored 23 points and the New Orleans Pelicans clinched a spot in the Western Conference play-in tournament, beating the Sacramento Kings 123-109. Brandon Ingram added 17 points, seven rebounds and eight assists for the Pelicans (35-44), who never trailed. New Orleans has won four of five. Damian Jones had 22 points for Sacramento.

Devin Vassell and Keldon Johnson each scored 20 points to help the San Antonio Spurs secure a spot in the play-in tournament following a 116-97 win over the Denver Nuggets. The Spurs locked up at least the 10th seed in the Western Conference when the Los Angeles Lakers were eliminated from the playoff race with a loss to Phoenix. Reigning MVP Nikola Jokic had 41 points and 17 rebounds for the Nuggets, who wasted a chance to clinch a playoff spot with a win after Minnesota lost to Washington. The Spurs had six players score in double figures as they won a regular-season game in Denver for the first time since Jan. 5, 2017.

Rudy Gobert had 22 points and 21 rebounds, and the Utah Jazz clinched a playoff berth with a 121-115 overtime victory over the Memphis Grizzlies. Jordan Clarkson also finished with 22 points for Utah. Donovan Mitchell added 20 points, eight rebounds, and five assists. Hassan Whiteside tallied 14 points and 10 boards off the bench. Jaren Jackson, Jr. scored 28 points for the Grizzlies. Tyus Jones added 24 points and Desmond Bane had 23 points, seven rebounds and four steals. Jackson made a pair of 3-pointers in the final minute of regulation and Kyle Anderson put back Bane’s airball on a 3-pointer before the buzzer to force overtime.

Brook Lopez scored a season-high 28 points and the Milwaukee Bucks overcame a rather quiet performance from Giannis Antetokounmpo to clinch their fourth straight Central Division championship with a 127-106 victory over the Chicago Bulls. The Bucks haven’t been on a run like this since Don Nelson’s teams won seven consecutive division titles in the 1980s. They took control early and came away with an easy win even though DeMar DeRozan scored 40 for Chicago. Antetokounmpo, trying to overtake LeBron James and Joel Embiid in a tight race for his first scoring title, finished with 18 points, nine rebounds and seven assists. But the two-time MVP started slow and spent most of the fourth quarter on the bench after picking up his fifth foul. Khris Middleton scored 19.

Tyler Herro scored 35 points off the bench and the Miami Heat moved closer to clinching the No. 1 seed in the Eastern Conference playoffs with a 144-115 victory over the Charlotte Hornets. Miami won its fifth straight and posted the second-highest point total in franchise history, while Charlotte allowed 144 for the second consecutive game. Jimmy Butler added 27 points for the Heat, who need to win one of their two remaining games to secure the top spot in the East. Miami finished 23 of 42 from 3-point range. Herro was 8 of 14 from behind the arc and tied Dwyane Wade’s single-game record for points by a Heat reserve. Miles Bridges scored 29 points for Charlotte.

Pascal Siakam had 31 points and 13 rebounds, Scottie Barnes had 19 points and 14 rebounds, and the Toronto Raptors clinched a playoff berth by beating the Atlanta Hawks 118-108. Chris Boucher scored 18 points, Gary Trent Jr. had 14, Fred VanVleet 12, and Precious Achiuwa 11. Toronto has won 12 of 16. Trae Young had 26 points and 15 assists for the Hawks, who lost for the first time in six games and locked themselves into a play-in berth. Atlanta remains 1 1/2 games behind seventh-place Cleveland.

Kyrie Irving scored 42 points and the Brooklyn Nets beat the Houston Rockets 118-105 on improve their position in the race for play-in seeding. Irving had 17 points in the fourth quarter. Kevin Durant added 18 points, Bruce Brown had 15 and Cam Thomas 13 for the Nets. With Cleveland, Atlanta and Charlotte all losing, the Nets climbed into a tie for eighth place in the Eastern Conference, just 1 1/2 games behind the Cavaliers. The No. 7 seed hosts a game to open the tournament.

Mo Bamba had 20 points and 12 rebounds, Ignas Brazdeikis scored 20 off the bench and the Orlando Magic beat the Cleveland Cavaliers 120-115 to stop a six-game losing streak. Darius Garland had 27 points and 10 assists, and Lauri Markkanen added 25 points for the injury-riddled Cavaliers, who have dropped eight of 10. Cleveland is trying to hold onto seventh place in the Eastern Conference with two regular-season games remaining.

Kristaps Porzingis scored 25 points, including 12 in the third quarter as Washington took control, and the Wizards pulled away for a 132-114 win against the Minnesota Timberwolves. Minnesota is in seventh place in the Western Conference, almost out of time to climb above the cut and avoid the play-in tournament with only three regular-season games remaining.

Jaylen Hoard had career-highs of 24 points and 21 rebounds to help the Oklahoma City Thunder top the Portland Trail Blazers 98-94. Oklahoma City improved to 4-0 against the Trail Blazers this season. The Trail Blazers lost their eighth straight.

Chicago Bulls point guard Lonzo Ball experienced another setback in his recovery from surgery for a torn meniscus in his left knee, raising more doubt about whether he will play again this season. Coach Billy Donovan says the next step will probably be a “meeting of the minds” in the next day or two. Ball has not played since Jan. 14.


Nathan MacKinnon scored two goals and the Colorado Avalanche clinched a playoff spot with a 6-4 win against the Pittsburgh Penguin. The Avalanche became the first NHL team to get 50 wins this season. J.T. Compher, Darren Helm, Josh Manson and Artturi Lehkonen also scored for Colorado.

Darcy Kuemper stopped 41 shots. Bryan Rust, Evan Rodrigues, Jake Guentzel and Mike Matheson all scored for the Penguins.

Tristan Jarry made 26 saves for Pittsburgh, which has lost five of its last seven games.

In other NHL ice action:

Connor McDavid scored 31 seconds into overtime to extend his points streak to 14 games and the Edmonton Oilers rallied to beat the San Jose Sharks 2-1 for their fifth straight win. Ryan Nugent-Hopkins tied the game with a short-handed goal with 8:04 remaining in regulation before McDavid won it. Mike Smith made a save early in overtime and sent the puck ahead for McDavid, who raced in on a breakaway and beat James Reimer for the winner. McDavid has 12 goals and 15 assists during his points streak. San Jose has lost four straight.

Artemi Panarin set up two first-period power-play goals for his 64th and 65th assists of the season and the New York Rangers posted a 3-1 victory over rival New Jersey Devils. Chris Kreider scored his 47th goal of the season, Justin Braun scored his first as a Ranger and Ryan Strome had a goal in his first game back from an injury.

Radek Faksa’s shorthanded goal midway through the second period gave the Dallas Stars a 3-2 win over the New York Islanders. Marian Studenic and Tyler Seguin also scored for the Stars, who moved into the Western Conference’s second wild card by one point ahead of the Vegas Golden Knights. Jean-Gabriel Pageau and Brock Nelson scored for the Islanders, who trail the Washington Capitals by 11 points for the East’s final wild card with 13 games to play

Jonathan Huberdeau scored his second goal of the game in overtime and also had three assists, helping the Florida Panthers overcome a four-goal deficit to beat the Toronto Maple Leafs 7-6 Tuesday night. The Atlantic Division-leading Panthers trailed 5-1 midway through the second period before roaring back. Sam Reinhart scored twice, Aleksander Barkov had a goal and three assists, Claude Giroux got his first goal with Florida

Victor Olofsson had a goal and an assist in the third period to lead the Buffalo Sabres past the Carolina Hurricanes 4-2. Jeff Skinner, Casey Mittelstadt and Dylan Cozens also scored for the Sabres, and Craig Anderson made 32 saves in the opening game of a home-and-home set with the Hurricanes. Nino Niederreiter had a goal and an assist for Carolina. Jesper Fast also scored, Jordan Staal had two assists, and Frederik Andersen stopped 18 shots.

Justin Danforth scored the go-ahead goal late in the third period, Elvis Merzlikins stopped 47 shots and the Columbus Blue Jackets beat the Philadelphia Flyers 4-2 to end a seven-game skid. Sean Kuraly added an empty-netter for Columbus in the final seconds. The Blue Jackets last won March 19 and let their playoff hopes all but disappear over the last three weeks.

Austin Watson scored twice and the Ottawa Senators had three goals in the third period of a 6-3 win over the Montreal Canadiens. Tim Stutzle, Brady Tkachuk, Drake Batherson and Colin White also scored for Ottawa. Anton Forsberg made 27 saves as the Sens downed the Habs for the first time this season. Montreal’s Justin Barron scored his first NHL goal in his first game at the Bell Centre.

Jakub Vrána had a goal and an assist, Alex Nedeljkovic made a season-high 47 saves and had an assist, and the Detroit Red Wings defeated the Boston Bruins 5-3. The victory snapped a six-game losing streak for Detroit and halted Boston’s three-game win streak.

Ryan Johansen’s first career hat trick led the Nashville Predators to a 6-2 victory over the Minnesota Wild. Roman Josi and Philip Tomasino had a goal and two assists, Matt Duchene had a goal and an assist and Juuse Saros made 47 saves for Nashville. Filip Forsberg had three assists and Mattias Ekholm added two. Mats Zuccarello and Kirill Kaprizov each had a goal and an assist for Minnesota. Marc-Andre Fleury made 27 saves.

Anaheim Ducks captain Ryan Getzlaf says he will retire at the conclusion of the regular season. The 36-year-old playmaking center is choosing to end a 17-year NHL career spent entirely with one club.

Getzlaf has scored 1,013 points in 1,150 games since his NHL debut in October 2005. He became Anaheim’s career franchise scoring leader last October, and he became the 92nd player in league history to score 1,000 points last November.

Elsewhere in NHL news:

New Jersey Devils’ leading goal-scorer Jack Hughes will miss the rest of the season with a left knee injury. Hughes was hurt Sunday in the second period when he was checked by Islanders forward Oliver Wahlstrom.


Milwaukee Brewers catcher Pedro Severino has been suspended for 80 games following a positive drug test. He was expected to serve as the main backup to 2021 All-Star Omar Narváez.

The commissioner’s office says Severino tested positive for the performance-enhancing substance Clomiphene. The women’s fertility drug has been used by some athletes to counter side effects of steroids use.

Severino apologized to the Brewers, teammates and fans. He says he and his wife are trying to start a family and that one of the doctors he consulted with prescribed the medication to treat infertility issues. The 28-year-old is in his first season with the Brewers after playing for Washington and Baltimore.

Elsewhere around the majors:

Outfielder Manuel Margot has agreed to a $19 million, two-year contract with the Tampa Bay Rays. The deal includes salaries of $7 million in 2023, up from the $5.6 million the 27-year-old is due to earn this season, and $10 million in 2024. It also includes a $12 million mutual option in 2025 or a $2 million buyout. Margot would have been eligible for free agency after this season. He was obtained in a trade from the San Diego Padres in February 2020 and has played all three outfield positions over two seasons with the Rays.

New York Mets ace Max Scherzer says his hamstring is feeling much better and that he’s ready to pitch Friday night against Washington in the second game of the season. The Mets haven’t yet said who would start on opening day Thursday at Nationals Park. Washington traded him to the Los Angeles Dodgers late last season.

The San Francisco Giants will open defense of their NL West title without two key components. Third baseman Evan Longoria and outfielder/first baseman LaMonte Wade Jr. will begin the season on the injured list. The Giants are optimistic that first baseman Brandon Belt will be ready to start of the season Friday at home against Miami. Belt reported to camp with swelling in his right knee.

The New York Yankees plan to carry 16 pitchers on their opening-day roster Thursday against the Boston Red Sox. Manager Aaron Boone says switch-hitting utilityman Marwin González will play a key role off the shortened bench. Teams are allowed to carry 28 players on the roster during April due to the shortened spring training.

Newly acquired Detroit Tigers outfielder Austin Meadows is expected to be ready for opening day Friday against the Chicago White Sox after recently being slowed by an oblique injury. Meadows was acquired from the Tampa Bay Rays on Monday night for infielder Isaac Paredes and a draft pick.

The Los Angeles Dodgers and veteran right-hander Dellin Betances have agreed to a minor league contract, according to a person with knowledge of the deal. The person spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because the team hadn’t announced it. The 34-year-old Betances made four All-Star teams in eight seasons with the New York Yankees but hasn’t been a reliable contributor since 2018. He’s only appeared in 17 games over the past three seasons and pitched just once for the Mets last year due to shoulder surgery. Over 10 seasons, Betances is 21-23 with a 2.53 ERA and 36 saves.

In a move that will end a tradition dating 150 years, Major League Baseball has approved the use of an electronic device for catchers to signal pitches in an effort to eliminate sign stealing and speed games. As video at ballparks increased, so did sign stealing.


The Patriots completed a trade with the Dolphins to acquire veteran DeVante Parker. New England sent a 2023 third-round draft pick to Miami for Parker and a 2022 fifth-round pick.

Parker, a 2015 first-round pick, arrives in New England with 338 receptions for 4,727 yards and 24 touchdowns.

The Patriots are hoping Parker can add to a group of Patriots receivers that already includes Kendrick Bourne, Jakobi Meyers and Nelson Agholor.

Elsewhere around the NFL:

Former Minnesota Vikings defensive lineman Doug Sutherland, a member of the Purple People Eaters, has died. He was 73. The team released a statement saying Sutherland died Tuesday, but did not provide a cause of death. Sutherland played 12 seasons in the NFL from 1970-81 with New Orleans, Minnesota and Seattle. Drafted by the Saints in the 14th round, he was traded to the Vikings the following season and played 10 years in Minnesota. Sutherland registered 29 sacks in 164 career games.

The Cleveland Browns re-signed Chase McLaughlin after choosing not to tender McLaughlin as a restricted free agent last month. The Browns are bringing back the 26-year-old to compete with Chris Blewitt. The Browns could still add another kicker in free agency or the draft.

Punter Riley Dixon has signed with the Los Angeles Rams. Dixon joined the Super Bowl champions on Tuesday after spending the past four seasons with the New York Giants, posting the two highest single-season net punting averages in franchise history during his tenure. New York released him last month


Oscar Tshiebwe of Kentucky has won the John R. Wooden Award as the men’s college basketball player of the year.

Tshiebwe led the nation with 515 total rebounds and 15.1 rebounds per game at 15.1.

The 6-foot-9 center had the most rebounds in a season since 1973 and the highest per game average since 1980.

Aliyah Boston with national champion South Carolina won the women’s Wooden Award. The 6-foot-5 forward averaged 16.8 points and had a Southeastern Conference record of 27 straight double-doubles.

Elsewhere in college basketball news:

— Duke assistant coach Nolan Smith is heading to Louisville. Smith is the son of late Cardinals player Derek Smith from Louisville’s 1980 NCAA title team. Smith’s departure means new Blue Devils coach Jon Scheyer must hire two assistant coaches as he takes over for retired Hall of Famer Mike Krzyzewski (shuh-SHEHF’-skeez).


Notre Dame will host Tennessee State in September 2023, marking the first time the Fighting Irish have ever faced a Historically Black College or University on the football field.

The historic contest will be broadcast nationally by NBC.

Notre Dame credited Tennessee State coach Eddie George, the 1995 Heisman Trophy winner, and athletic director Mikki Allen for creating a vision that would make the game possible.

The Tigers have won more than 550 games since the program’s inception and have claimed 12 Black College national titles.


Tiger Woods says, for now anyway, he’s planning to play this week in the Masters, a little more than a year after he nearly lost a leg in a car crash.

The five-time champion at Augusta National made the announcement Tuesday morning. He will play nine more practice holes on Wednesday before making a final decision, but will be doing so with the intention of playing Thursday.

Woods was asked if he believes he can win the tournament. He said he does.


Gene Shue, a two-time NBA Coach of the Year who won 784 games with the Bullets, 76ers and Clippers, has died.

A five-time All-Star as a player for the Pistons, Shue went on to coach for more than two decades. He took the Baltimore Bullets to the NBA Finals in 1971, then did the same with the Philadelphia 76ers in 1977. He is still the record holder for the Washington-Baltimore franchise with 522 victories.

The Wizards and the NBA announced Shue’s death Monday. He was 90.

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