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Celtics pull away in 4th, beat Nets 109-98 for 5th straight


Jayson Tatum had 20 points and 11 rebounds, and the Boston Celtics pulled away in the fourth quarter to beat Brooklyn 109-98 in the Nets’ first game since losing Kevin Durant to a knee injury. Marcus Smart added 16 points and 10 assists for the Celtics, who played without Jaylen Brown because of an injury. Malcolm Brogdon also scored 16 points, teaming with fellow backup guard Payton Pritchard to lead the decisive spurt early in the fourth that sent the Celtics to their fifth straight victory. Brown had right adductor tightness, a night after scoring a season-high 41 points in a victory over New Orleans.

Shai Gilgeous-Alexander scored 37 points and Josh Giddey had 20 to lead the Oklahoma City Thunder to a 133-114 win over the Philadelphia 76ers on Thursday night. The Thunder won for the fourth time in six games but this was perhaps their signature win of the season. The Thunder were a solid 13-9 home but won just their sixth road game of the season. Joel Embiiid had 30 points and 10 rebounds. James Harden had 24 points and 15 assists. Oklahoma City also avenged a 19-point loss to the 76ers on Dec. 31.

Pascal Siakam scored 35 points, Scottie Barnes added 21 and the Toronto Raptors have won three consecutive games for the first time this season, beating the Charlotte Hornets 124-114. Gary Trent Jr. scored 19 points and O.G. Anunoby had 15 as the Raptors swept a pair of home games against the struggling Hornets. LaMelo Ball scored 32 points before fouling out, and Terry Rozier had 21 as Charlotte lost for the sixth time in seven games. Charlotte made 10 turnovers in Tuesday’s loss and had a season-worst 22 miscues Thursday, leading to 26 points for the Raptors.

Luka Doncic hit tying 3-pointers in the final seconds of regulation and the first overtime before finishing with 35 points, 14 rebounds and 13 assists in the Dallas Mavericks’ 119-115 double-overtime victory over the Los Angeles Lakers. Doncic highlighted his 56th career triple-double with a pair of clutch 3-pointers, while Christian Wood added 24 points and 14 rebounds in the Mavs’ fourth straight win over the Lakers. Russell Westbrook scored a season-high 28 points and LeBron James had 24 points, 16 rebounds and nine assists for the Lakers, who have lost two straight after a five-game winning streak.

LeBron James of the Los Angeles Lakers is well on his way to catching Kareem Abdul-Jabbar on more than the NBA’s career scoring list. James is still on pace to be an All-Star for the 19th time. The NBA says he remains the overall leading vote-getter for the Feb. 19 game in Salt Lake City. Abdul-Jabbar is the only 19-time All-Star in NBA history. Kevin Durant has the second-most votes and is on pace to be a captain against James for the third year in a row. James and Kobe Bryant are 18-time All-Star selections, and James entered Thursday 423 points away from passing Abdul-Jabbar as the NBA’s all-time scoring leader.


Adam Fox scored 1:16 into overtime after fellow defenseman K’Andre Miller tied it with 0.2 seconds left in regulation and the New York Rangers stunned the Dallas Stars 2-1 on Thursday night. Jake Oettinger was tenths of a second from the shutout — and the Rangers hadn’t even managed a shot on goal with an extra skater on the ice — before Miller’s shot made it through for his fifth of the season. Igor Shesterkin made 24 saves for New York, allowing only Tyler Seguin’s power-play goal late in the second period. Oettinger finished with 29 saves.

Kyle Connor broke a tie on a third-period breakaway in the Winnipeg Jets’ 4-2 victory over the Buffalo Sabres on Thursday night. Nikolaj Ehlers intercepted Rasmus Dahlin’s pass and sent the puck to Connor, who sprinted up the ice and beat goalie Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen at 7:19 to help give the Jets their sixth victory in seven games. Dylan Samberg, Josh Morrissey, and Karson Kuhlman also scored for the Jets. Connor Hellebuyck made 39 saves. Victor Olofsson and Tyson Jost scored for Buffalo, and Luukkonen — recalled from Rochester of the American Hockey League earlier in the day — made 23 saves. The Sabres have lost three in a row and four of six.

Frederick Gaudreau, Sam Steel and Kirill Kaprizov scored in the third period to lift the Minnesota Wild to a 3-1 victory against the New York Islanders. Filip Gustavsson made 19 saves for the Wild, who snapped a three-game losing streak in the finale of a two-game road trip. Scott Mayfield scored for New York, and Ilya Sorokin finished with 33 saves. It was the Islanders’ fourth consecutive loss.

Martin Jones stopped 27 shots for his second straight shutout to lead the Kraken to a 3-0 victory over Boston. Seattle matched its franchise record with a seventh straight victory while sending the Bruins to their first regulation loss at home all season. Brandon Tanev, Eeli Tolvanen and Jaden Schwartz scored for Seattle. The Kraken also won seven straight earlier this season. It's Seattle's second season since joining the NHL as an expansion franchise. Jones saved David Pastrnak breakaway in the second period, Boston’s best chance at a goal. Linus Ullmark made 28 saves for the Bruins. They had been 19-0-3 at home this season.

Cole Caufield scored two power-play goals and the Montreal Canadiens held off the Nashville Predators 4-3 on Thursday night after honoring former defenseman P.K. Subban in a pregame ceremony. Kirby Dach added a goal and an assist for Montreal, Jake Evans also scored and Jonathan Drouin had three assists. Samuel Montembeault stopped 39 shots. Nino Niederreiter, Filip Forsberg and Juuso Parssinen scored for Nashville. Yaroslav Askarov made 31 saves in his NHL debut.


Atlanta’s Mercedes-Benz Stadium will be the neutral site if Buffalo and Kansas City meet in the AFC championship game. The NFL decided to put that potential matchup in a neutral city after the Bills’ Week 17 game against Cincinnati was canceled when Damar Hamlin went into cardiac arrest on the field. The Chiefs are the No. 1 seed in the AFC, but played one more game than the second-seeded Bills. The league brokered the neutral site deal because Buffalo could have been the top seed with a victory over the Bengals.

Buffalo Bills coach Sean McDermott is drawing praise for the vulnerability and poise he showed in helping guide his team through an emotionally draining week. McDermott became the face and voice of the franchise in the aftermath of safety Damar Hamlin going into cardiac arrest and needing to be resuscitated on the field in Cincinnati. Those who know McDermott are not surprised. Former William & Mary coach Jimmye Laycock knew the Bills were in good hands under his former player.

The Baltimore Ravens are still practicing without Lamar Jackson. But Thursday did include one significant development. There was an update from the star quarterback’s Twitter account. Jackson tweeted that he's suffered a grade 2 PCL sprain. He says there's still inflammation surrounding his knee and his knee remains unstable. Jackson hasn’t practiced since injuring his knee in a Dec. 4 win over Denver. He missed the final five games of the regular season. Now the Ravens face the prospect of playing their postseason opener at Cincinnati without him Sunday night.

Las Vegas Raiders quarterback Derek Carr posted on Twitter that he is ready for the challenge of playing in a new city. Those were his first public comments since being benched by coach Josh McDaniels with two weeks left in the season. Carr was the Raiders QB for nine seasons. He owns multiple team records, including most career passing yards with 35,222 and passing touchdowns with 217. The Raiders have until Feb. 15 to release Carr or his $32.9 million salary for 2023 will be guaranteed.

Ezekiel Elliott is no longer the lead running back for the Dallas Cowboys. The two-time rushing champ shares the backfield role with Tony Pollard. The understudy is the team's leading rusher going into a wild-card playoff game at Tampa Bay on Monday night. Elliott's teammates and coaches grade his value on a scale beyond production on the field. Quarterback Dak Prescott is the leader among Elliott's supporters. They've been the face of the Dallas offense since their remarkable rookie season together in 2016.

NFL Wild Card Weekend Schedule

Saturday, Jan. 14

(7) Seahawks at (2) 49ers (-10), 4:30 p.m. ET (Fox).

(5) Chargers at (4) Jaguars (+1.5), 8:15 p.m. ET (NBC).

Sunday, Jan. 15

(7) Dolphins at (2) Bills (-10), 1 p.m. ET (CBS).

(6) Giants at (3) Vikings (-3), 4:30 p.m. ET (Fox).

(6) Ravens at (3) Bengals (-6.5), 8:15 p.m. ET (NBC).

Monday, Jan. 16

(5) Cowboys at (4) Buccaneers (+3), 8:15 p.m. ET (ABC/ESPN). If the Cowboys are going to advance to the divisional round, they're going to have to do something they've never done: Beat Tom Brady. The Cowboys are 0-7 all-time against the Buccaneers QB and that includes a Week 1 loss where Tampa Bay topped Dallas 19-3.

NCAA board approves recommendations for Division I reform

At the NCAA convention, outgoing President Mark Emmert said goodbye, incoming President Charlie Baker introduced himself and the state of college sports was declared unstable. Baylor President Linda Livingstone says college sports is "both thriving and threatened.” Livingstone is chairwoman of the NCAA’s Board of Governors. Earlier in the day the Division I Board Division I Board of Directors approved a host of recommendations intended to reform the top-tier of college sports, from membership standards to the size of championship brackets. But Livingstone re-iterated federal intervention is needed to help preserve college sports.

Sony Open

Jordan Spieth is playing about how he expects, and that's a good thing. Spieth opened with a 64 and shares the lead in the Sony Open with Chris Kirk and PGA Tour rookie Taylor Montgomery. Spieth says he is feeling more confident that has swing changes are now becoming routine. The conditions are ideal for scoring at Waialae with a moderate breeze and plenty of sunshine. Harris English and Slovakian silver medalist Rory Sabbatini are among those at 65. The first round did not finish because of darkness at Waialae Country Club.


Trevor Bauer was released by the Los Angeles Dodgers, who cut ties after the pitcher’s unprecedented 324-game suspension over sexual misconduct allegations was reduced by an arbitrator. Los Angeles designated Bauer for assignment on Jan. 6, the last day to restore him to the roster, after arbitrator Martin Scheinman cut the suspension imposed by baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred to 194 games. The Dodgers placed the pitcher on waivers Thursday and any team can claim Bauer by Friday. Bauer is owed about $22.5 million from the remainder of his $102 million, three-year contract, making a waiver claim unlikely.

David Guistina is the host of Capital Connection, Legislative Gazette, and Morning Edition and the producer of the Media Project on WAMC.