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#SportsReport: Nets defeat Knicks; Celtics top Pistons

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AP VoteCast: How voters felt about happy hours, Taylor Swift

WASHINGTON (AP) — In Massachusetts, Democrats and Republicans could find an issue to agree on: letting bars have happy hours. Commonwealth law bans bars and other establishments from having special discounts on beer, wine and liquor. AP VoteCast shows a majority of voters favor Massachusetts legalizing happy hour. AP VoteCast is an extensive survey of more than 94,000 voters and reveals U.S. voters’ views on some of the most significant issues affecting the nation. And some of the least significant, too. Beyond the happy hour question, AP Votecast explored Alabama college football rivalries, what Mississippi voters really think about football star Brett Favre and whether Tennessee voters like Taylor Swift.

Biden hopes Putin will negotiate WNBA star Griner's release

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Joe Biden says he hopes Russian President Vladimir Putin will be more willing to negotiate the release of WNBA star Brittney Griner now that the U.S. midterm elections are over. He spoke Wednesday afternoon, hours after Griner’s lawyers revealed that she had been sent to a penal colony to serve her sentence for drug possession. U.S. officials have for months tried to negotiate the release of Griner and another American jailed in Russia, Paul Whelan. But there have been no overt signs of progress.

LeBron hurt late in Clippers' 114-101 win over Lakers

LOS ANGELES (AP) — LeBron James had 30 points and eight rebounds before leaving the court gingerly with less than five minutes to play in the Los Angeles Lakers’ 114-101 loss to the Los Angeles Clippers. The Lakers said James felt discomfort in his left leg. He appeared to be experiencing pain in his groin. Paul George scored 29 points as the Clippers extended their recent domination of their arena roommates with their ninth consecutive victory over the Lakers. The Clippers still haven’t lost to the Lakers under coach Tyronn Lue, who took over in October 2020.

Durant, Nets pound Knicks 112-85 after promoting Vaughn

NEW YORK (AP) — Kevin Durant had 29 points, 12 rebounds and 12 assists, becoming the first player since Michael Jordan to score at least 25 points in his team’s first 12 games, and the Brooklyn Nets routed the New York Knicks 112-85 after making Jacque Vaughn their head coach. Durant beat the Knicks for the 13th straight time. His rebounds and assists were both season highs, and his usual scoring extended a streak that is the longest since Jordan opened the 1988-89 season with 16 consecutive games of 25 points. New York’s basketball rivalry remained no rivalry at all, with the Nets beating the Knicks for the eighth straight time.

Bills QB Josh Allen to miss practice, listed day to day

ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. (AP) — Bills coach Sean McDermott says Josh Allen will miss practice because of an injury to his throwing elbow, but the star quarterback could play against the NFC North-leading Minnesota Vikings this weekend. McDermott wouldn’t reveal the severity of the injury and stuck mostly to an opening statement in which he referred to Allen as being day to day. If Allen can’t play, the Bills would turn one of the NFL’s best offenses over to backup Case Keenum. Allen was hurt in the final minutes of a 20-17 loss to the New York Jets last weekend.

LA Rams QB Matthew Stafford in concussion protocol

THOUSAND OAKS, Calif. (AP) — Los Angeles Rams quarterback Matthew Stafford is in the concussion protocol, coach Sean McVay says. The Super Bowl-winning quarterback entered the protocol Tuesday afternoon after consulting with the Rams’ medical staff, the team confirmed Wednesday. The Rams believe Stafford’s symptoms resulted from action in last Sunday’s 16-13 loss at Tampa Bay, but they haven’t identified a specific hit. McVay said the Rams haven’t determined whether Stafford can play Sunday against the Arizona Cardinals. John Wolford, a Rams backup since 2019, is likely to start if Stafford can’t go. Stafford has been one of the NFL’s most durable quarterbacks for the past 12 seasons.

Pepi, Steffen left off US World Cup roster, Ream, Wright on

NEW YORK (AP) — The U.S. World Cup roster had some surprises: Ricardo Pepi was left off along with Zack Steffen, Paul Arriola and Jordan Pefok. U.S. coach Gregg Berhalter picked 35-year-old defender Tim Ream, who hasn't played with the team since September 2021 Also selected were Haji Wright, Joe Scally, Cameron Carter-Vickers and Sean Johnson, who all failed to get into a single one of the qualifiers. DeAndre Yedlin, a 29-year-old defender, is the only player left from the 2014 World Cup roster. The U.S. opens the World Cup against Wales on Nov. 21, then plays England and Iran.

EXPLAINER: Qatar's history, politics ahead of FIFA World Cup

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) — Qatar will be on the world stage like it has never been before as the small, energy-rich nation hosts the 2022 FIFA World Cup later this month. The country, on a thumb-shaped peninsula that juts out into the Persian Gulf, has seen its international profile rise as Doha used its massive offshore natural gas fields to make its nation one of the world’s richest per-capita. It has used that money to host the tournament, as well as build out the Arab world’s most-recognized satellite news channel, Al Jazeera, construct a major military base that hosts U.S. troops and become a trusted interlocutor for the West — even with the Taliban.

Nets make Jacque Vaughn coach, decide against Udoka pursuit

NEW YORK (AP) — The Brooklyn Nets have made Jacque Vaughn their head coach, promoting Steve Nash’s replacement instead of hiring suspended Boston coach Ime Udoka. Vaughn went 2-2 as acting coach since the Nets and Nash parted ways on Nov. 1. After moving on from Nash, the Nets had been in discussions with Udoka, who had been a Nets assistant before taking the Boston job. But the Nets decided not go that route, perhaps unwilling to take on more negative attention while dealing with the fallout from Kyrie Irving’s decision to post a link to a film with antisemitic material on his Twitter page. Vaughn's first game as the head coach was a 112-85 rout of the New York Knicks on Wednesday night.

Díaz, Mets ink $102M, 5-year deal, record for MLB closer

NEW YORK (AP) — All-Star closer Edwin Díaz and the New York Mets have finalized their $102 million, five-year contract — the largest for a reliever in baseball history. Díaz can opt out after three seasons, and the deal includes a team option for 2028. The 28-year-old right-hander became a free agent Sunday following a sensational season with the Mets. Needing to rebuild most of their pitching staff, they started at the back end of the bullpen and quickly locked up Díaz with a record deal before other teams were permitted to negotiate with him. Díaz went 3-1 with a 1.31 ERA and 32 saves in 61 appearances this season, making his second All-Star team. He had 118 strikeouts, whiffing more than 50% of the batters he faced.