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WAMC Sports Report 3/15/23: Quickley leads rally and Knicks beat Trail Blazers 123-107



Immanuel Quickley had 26 points and the New York Knicks mounted a rally in the third quarter to beat the Portland Trail Blazers 123-107. Julius Randle added 24 points for the Knicks, who are still playing without injured guard Jalen Brunson. Quickley scored 14 of his points in the third quarter and the Knicks outscored the Blazers 42-26 to lead 91-81 lead going into the final period. Damian Lillard was questionable before the game with a calf injury, but he started for Portland and led all scorers with 38 points.

Shai Gilgeous-Alexander scored 35 points, Josh Giddey had 15 points, 13 rebounds and 10 assists, and the Oklahoma City Thunder beat the Brooklyn Nets 121-107 for their sixth win in seven games. Lu Dort matched his season high with 24 points and added nine rebounds for Oklahoma City, which rallied from a 14-point, first-half deficit thanks mostly to a sizzling third quarter, during which Dort made five 3-pointers. Mikal Bridges scored 34 points and Cam Johnson added 23 for Brooklyn, which had won five of its last six games, with four of those wins on the road.


Mika Zibanejad scored twice in the first period and the New York Rangers beat the short-handed Washington Capitals 5-3. Patrick Kane had a goal and an assist, Jacob Trouba and Jimmy Vesey also scored and Vincent Trocheck had two assists for the Rangers, who are 3-0-1 in their last four games and 5-2-1 in their past eight. Igor Shesterkin made 28 saves. Matt Irwin had a goal and an assist, and Nicolas Aube-Kubel and Nic Dowd also scored for a Capitals team minus star left wing Alex Ovechkin due to a lower-body injury. Darcy Kuemper finished with 31 saves as Washington lost for the third time in four games.

Drew Doughty and Alex Iafallo scored on the power play as part of a four-goal outburst in the second period, and the Los Angeles Kings defeated the New York Islanders 5-2. Blake Lizotte, Trevor Moore and Quinton Byfield also scored for Los Angeles. Joonas Korpisalo made 26 saves, and the Kings improved to 6-0-1 in their past seven games. Pierre Engvall and Jean-Gabriel Pageau each had a goal, but the Islanders have dropped their past two games following three straight wins as part of a five-game point streak. Ilya Sorokin allowed four goals on 36 shots.

Taylor Raddysh scored three goals and the Chicago Blackhawks beat Boston 6-3, handing the NHL-leading Bruins a second straight regulation loss for the first time this season. Raddysh’s first career hat trick gave him 20 goals this season and six in his last four games. Chicago ended a three-game slide. Boris Katchouk scored a tiebreaking goal at 6:59 of the third period and added two assists for his first three-point game. Joey Anderson had a goal and an assist, and MacKenzie Entwistle also scored for Chicago, which entered tied for last place in the Western Conference. Hampus Lindholm had a goal and an assist after missing the Bruins' game Sunday at Detroit with a swollen foot. Trent Frederic and Pavel Zacha also scored for Boston.

Ivan Barbashev scored two goals, Pavel Dorofeyev, Teddy Blueger and Jonathan Marchessault also scored to lead the Vegas Golden Knights to a 5-3 win over the Philadelphia Flyers on Tuesday night. Travis Sanheim, Nick Seeler and Morgan Frost scored for the Flyers. Barbashev scored his 14th goal of the season on an empty-netter that sealed the win. The Knights led 4-1 in the third until Seeler and Frost scored two fast goals to give Vegas a scare. The Flyers lost the opener of a seven-game homestand. The Golden Knights have won four straight games.

Brandon Hagel had a goal and two assists, Andrei Vasilevskiy made 22 saves and the Tampa Bay Lightning scored the last four goals in a 4-1 victory over the New Jersey Devils on Tuesday night. Anthony Cirelli, Alex Killorn and Nikita Kucherov also scored for Tampa Bay in the opener of two-game set. The teams will meet again in New Jersey on Thursday night, and face off Sunday night in Florida. Damon Severson scored for the Devils.

Anthony Richard scored the winning goal in the third period and the Montreal Canadiens beat the Pittsburgh Penguins 6-4 on Tuesday night. Montreal, which won its first game in March, has lost eight of its last 10 games overall. Josh Anderson scored an empty-net goal while the Penguins pressed for the tie. Mike Hoffman scored his 11th while Denis Gurianov, Jesse Ylonen and Joel Edmundson also scored for the Canadiens. Sam Montembeault made 39 saves. Tristan Jarry started, but allowed four goals on seven shots. It was the fourth time in five games Jarry allowed four goals and the second time he was pulled. DeSmith stopped 13 shots in relief.

The expanded World Cup in North America has gotten even more supersized. The governing body of soccer increased the size of the 2026 tournament for a second time. FIFA has created a bigger opening stage with four-team groups in a 104-game schedule. The tournament will now last nearly six weeks in June-July in the United States, Canada and Mexico. The decision adds 24 more games for the 16 host cities. That should further fuel FIFA’s expected record revenue of at least $11 billion through 2026. The 1998 World Cup in France was the first with 32 teams.

The World Cup group stage format for 2026 was changed to 12 groups of four teams from 16 groups of three teams by FIFA’s Council on Tuesday, increasing the total to 104 matches from 64 in the 2022 tournament in Qatar. That means to win a World Cup, a nation will have to play eight games, up from the seven in place since 1974. The top two teams in each group and the top eight third-place teams will advance to a new round of 32 that starts the knockout phase.


For the first time in more than a decade, NCAA and college sports leaders are committed to a serious and thorough examination of expanding March Madness. The tournament generates hundreds of millions in revenue annually for the NCAA and its 1,100 member schools. Making significant changes to the tournament in the near term will be difficult, if not impossible. There are logistical, financial and even political obstacles. A major factor is the role of broadcast partners. The current $8.8 billion contract with CBS and Warner Bros. Discovery runs through

Jamarius Burton made a go-ahead jumper with 10 seconds left and Pitt edged Mississippi State 60-59 in a back-and-forth First Four game that featured 21 lead changes — most in the NCAA Tournament in five years. Mississippi State had a great chance to win at the end, but Shakeel Moore missed an open 3-pointer with two seconds remaining off an inbounds play. D.J. Jeffries’ tip-in attempt was off target just before the buzzer. Nelly Cummings led Pitt with 15 points. Greg Elliott scored 13 and Blake Hinson added 12 as the Panthers won an NCAA Tournament game for the first time since 2014. They slotted into the Midwest Region as the 11th seed and advanced to face No. 6 Iowa State on Friday in Greensboro, North Carolina.

The University of New Hampshire men’s basketball team will have a new coach next year as it tries to reach the NCAA tournament for the first time. Bill Herrion was fired today/Tuesday after 18 years with the Wildcats. The college says it is time for new leadership. Herrion was the longest-tenured coach in the America East conference, which also includes Vermont and UAlbany. He never reached the conference championship game.


Athletes and coaches aren’t the only ones putting in extra time this week to help their teams get ready for the NCAA Tournament. Doctors and trainers are playing a big role, with injuries leaving question marks on some top teams. The No. 3-seeded Notre Dame is still waiting to see if star Olivia Miles will be healthy enough to play. UConn, a No. 2 seed, will have leading scorer Azzi Fudd for the tournament after she missed 22 games during the regular season with a knee injury.


The Atlanta Braves have optioned right-handed pitchers Ian Anderson and Bryce Elder to Triple-A Gwinnett. Both of them had been competing for the fifth spot in the Braves’ starting rotation. Anderson went 10-6 with a 5.00 ERA last season and was sent to the minors in early August. He was the winning pitcher in the Braves’ 2-0 victory over the Houston Astros in Game 3 of the 2021 World Series and had a no-hitter going when he was removed after five innings. Anderson, a Clifton Park New York native, was drafted by the Braves out of Shenendehowa High School in 2016.

(C) 2023 Associated Press

A 2022 Siena College graduate, Alexander began his journalism career as a sports writer for Siena College's student paper The Promethean, and as a host for Siena's school radio station, WVCR-FM "The Saint." A Cubs fan, Alexander hosts the morning Sports Report in addition to producing Morning Edition. You can hear the sports reports over-the-air at 6:19 and 7:19 AM, and online on WAMC.org. He also speaks Spanish as a second language. To reach him, email ababbie@wamc.org, or call (518)-465-5233 x 190. You can also find him on Twitter/X: @ABabbieWAMC.