James Harden and Kevin Durant each scored 20 points despite three relatively quiet quarters, and the Brooklyn Nets broke away with a big run in the fourth to beat the Miami Heat 98-85. Kyrie Irving added 16 points for the Nets, who completed a sweep of the Heat in two games that couldn't have been more different.
Brooklyn won 128-124 on Saturday, then took the rematch despite barely topping its lowest-scoring game of the season. Harden had only 10 points and four shots through three, then scored 10 more in the 18-2 spurt that turned a tie game into a 96-80 lead.
In other Monday night action:
Jaylen Brown scored 26 points, Jayson Tatum added 24 after missing five games because of COVID-19 protocols and the Boston Celtics beat the Chicago Bulls 119-103. Brown had another solid game following his 33-point outing in Sunday's romp over Cleveland. Tatum made three 3-pointers and had five assists over 31 minutes in his first appearance since Jan. 8. Daniel Theis scored 19 points and Marcus Smart added 13 while tying a career high with 11 assists as the Celtics won their second straight. Zach LaVine led Chicago with 30 points and shot 6 of 10 on 3s.
Delon Wright scored a career-high 28 points and Wayne Ellington had another impressive shooting night for Detroit, leading the Pistons to a 119-104 victory over the Eastern Conference-leading Philadelphia 76ers. Jerami Grant scored 25 points for the Pistons, who still have the NBA's worst record but took advantage of Joel Embiid's absence. The Philadelphia star was out with back tightness.
LeBron James went on a tear in the fourth quarter on his former home court, scoring 23 of his 46 points to keep the Los Angeles Lakers unbeaten on the road with a 115-108 win over the Cleveland Cavaliers. Anthony Davis added 17 points as the defending NBA champions improved to 10-0 away from home. The win for Los Angeles came on the eve of the one-year anniversary of Lakers legend Kobe Bryant's tragic death in a helicopter crash.
Shai Gilgeous-Alexander scored 24 points and Mike Muscala added 23, and the Oklahoma City Thunder snapped a three-game losing streak with a 125-122 victory over the Portland Trail Blazers. Damian Lillard, who had scored 30 or more points in his last three games, had 26 points and 10 assists for the Blazers. Anfernee Simons had 26 points off the bench and Enes Kanter added 13 points and 22 rebounds.
Stephen Curry scored 36 points with seven 3-pointers, Andrew Wiggins took it to his old Timberwolves team for 23 points, and the Golden State Warriors beat Minnesota 130-108 after coach Steve Kerr shook up his starting five. Facing the Timberwolves for the first time since his trade last February, Wiggins showed a steadiness that was missing at times when he played in Minneapolis. He drove the lane for pull-up jumpers, dunked, hit from long range, made three steals, blocked three shots and grabbed all six of his rebounds on the offensive glass.
Malcolm Brogdon scored a career-high 36 points and Myles Turner scored 11 of his 21 in the final 8 1/2 minutes to help Indiana pull away for a 129-114 victory over Toronto. Brogdon also had nine assists and seven rebounds, a day after his poorest game of the season. Jeremy Lamb matched his season-high with 22 points as Indiana earned a split in the two-game set against the Raptors. Toronto was led by Fred VanVleet's 25 points and six rebounds. Norman Powell scored 24 points.
Nikola Vucevic scored 28 points and rookie point guard Cole Anthony added a career-high 21 points as the Orlando Magic defeated the Charlotte Hornets 117-108. Orlando snapped a two-game losing streak and bounced back from squandering a double-digit lead in the fourth quarter a night earlier in a loss to the Hornets. Anthony made 8 of 12 shots and 4 of 5 3-pointers. Gordon Hayward and Terry Rozier led Charlotte with 24 points apiece.
Michael Porter Jr. tied his season high with 30 points and the Denver Nuggets overcame Jamal Murray's ejection for a shot to the groin of Dallas guard Tim Hardaway Jr. to beat the Mavericks 117-113. Porter was 6 of 10 from 3-point range, including a go-ahead shot to start a decisive 7-0 run late in the fourth quarter after the Mavericks had rallied immediately following the incident involving Murray and Hardaway. Luka Doncic had 35 points, 11 rebounds and a season-high 16 assists for his NBA-leading sixth triple-double.
San Antonio's game in New Orleans was called off Monday night in the latest virus-related postponement for the NBA, one that came when the league determined that neither team would have enough players available. As has been the case with most of the other games that have been postponed, contact tracing was cited as the cause. But instead of it involving just one team — as has been the case with each of the season's previous 21 postponements prior to Monday — this one involved both clubs. Neither team had the league-required eight available players to proceed with the scheduled game. San Antonio became the 24th team to have at least one game postponed so far this season because of the virus. Of the 22 postponements this season, 21 have been made since Jan. 10.
Sam Hauser hit seven of Virginia's 14 3-pointers and the No. 8 Cavaliers cruised to an 81-58 victory against Syracuse. Hauser hit five 3s before halftime as Virginia took a 41-26 lead into the locker room. He finished with 21 points. Virginia's Jay Huff added a career-high 21 points to go along with 12 rebounds. It was the seventh consecutive victory for the 2019 national champions. Quincy Guerrier led the Orange with 15 points, and Alan Griffin had 13.
Also Monday, Miles McBride made a go-ahead jumper with 6 seconds left and finished with a season-high 24 points, helping No. 11 West Virginia rally for a wild 88-87 victory over No. 10 Texas Tech. Jalen Bridges and reserve Sean McNeil each scored 13 points for West Virginia, which trailed by 12 with about seven minutes left. Texas Tech wasted a stellar performance by Mac McClung, who scored a season-high 30 points.
In college basketball news:
Gonzaga, Baylor and Villanova remain atop The Associated Press men's college basketball poll. The latest Top 25 also saw ninth-ranked Alabama climb to its highest ranking in 14 years. Gonzaga and Baylor have been 1-2 atop all 10 polls this season. The Crimson Tide had the biggest jump by rising nine spots for their highest ranking since January 2007. No. 16 Florida State, No. 24 Oklahoma and No. 25 Louisville were new additions to this week's poll. Clemson, Oregon and Connecticut fell out of the rankings.
Boston College has postponed two men's basketball games this week because of positive COVID-19 tests, prompting the Atlantic Coast Conference to juggle its schedule. The Eagles were set to play Clemson on Wednesday and No. 25 Louisville on Saturday. Instead, the ACC announced that Louisville will now play at Clemson on Wednesday night. The conference also rescheduled Georgia Tech's game at Louisville for Feb. 1. The teams were initially set to play on Jan. 9, but COVID-19 protocols led to the Yellow Jackets postponing four straight games.
The Southern Conference postponed three games because of positive COVID-19 tests within the Furman and Chattanooga men's basketball programs. UNC Greensboro at Furman on Monday night and Chattanooga's visit to East Tennessee on Wednesday night were postponed, and Chattanooga's game at Furman scheduled for Saturday also was called off.
The National Hockey League has postponed the Tampa Bay at Carolina game scheduled for Tuesday because of coronavirus concerns with the Hurricanes. It's the fourth consecutive Carolina game that has been postponed, and the Lightning's game in Raleigh on Thursday could also be in danger. Tuesday's game has been moved to Feb. 22 as part of several changes to the schedule. The team had six players on the NHL's COVID-19 unavailable list when it was last released Sunday. Carolina, Dallas, Florida, Nashville and Tampa Bay have all had games postponed because of the pandemic. Those teams all play in the realigned Central Division.
In other NHL developments:
Brandon Sutter recorded a hat trick and the Vancouver Canucks routed the Ottawa Senators 7-1. Vancouver won in regulation for the first time since its opener on Jan. 13. Tanner Pearson had a goal and an assist, and Tyler Motte, Quinn Hughes and Olli Juolevi also scored for the Canucks. Bo Horvat notched two assists. Ottawa's only goal came midway through the second period when Austin Watson scored off assists from Thomas Chabot and Mike Reilly.
The NHL has placed Chicago Blackhawks forward Alex DeBrincat and defenseman Adam Boqvist on the league's COVID-19 protocol list. The move means DeBrincat and Boqvist won't be able to play, practice or travel with the team until they are cleared. Chicago is coming off consecutive victories against Detroit, including a 6-2 win on Sunday. The Blackhawks are scheduled to visit Nashville on Tuesday night and again on Wednesday.
A federal judge in Florida has ordered the destruction of video that allegedly shows New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft paying for massage parlor sex. The South Florida Sun Sentinel reports that the judge on Friday ruled that the videos of Kraft and other customers must be wiped from existence, because the Jupiter police surveillance was deemed unlawful. Kraft's attorneys had argued that the billionaire feared the tapes of him in the nude would be publicized on the internet. A misdemeanor solicitation charge against Kraft was dropped in September after an appeals court ruled that video evidence couldn't be used in the case.
In other NFL news:
The Pittsburgh Steelers didn't look far to find their new offensive coordinator. The club has promoted quarterbacks coach Matt Canada to the position. Canada replaces Randy Fichtner. Fichtner's contract was not renewed after the Steelers were upset by Cleveland in the first round of the playoffs. Canada joined the Steelers a year ago following several assistant coaching stints at the collegiate level. Canada takes over an offense that sputtered down the stretch this season. Pittsburgh lost five of its final six games and finished last in the NFL in yards rushing. The Steelers have also hired longtime NFL assistant Alfredo Roberts as their new tight ends coach. Roberts replaces James Daniel, who retired earlier this month after 17 seasons with the Steelers and 27 overall in the NFL.
The Indianapolis Colts have made it official: quarterbacks coach Marcus Brady has been promoted to offensive coordinator. He replaces Nick Sirianni, who took the Philadelphia Eagles coaching job Thursday. Brady had been the Colts quarterbacks coach each of the past two years after serving as Indy's assistant quarterbacks coach each in 2018. Brady spent the previous 16 seasons in the Canadian Football League — the first seven as a player, the last nine as a coach. He is now the third Black offensive coordinator in the league.
New Los Angeles Chargers coach Brandon Staley has started building his staff by naming his coordinators. The Chargers announced they have agreed to terms with Joe Lombardi as offensive coordinator, Renaldo Hill as defensive coordinator and Derius Swinton II as special teams coordinator. All three have worked with Staley before. Lombardi was the offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach at Mercyhurst College in 2005, when Staley transferred from Dayton to play with his twin brother, Jason. Hill and Swinton were on coaching staffs with Staley in either Denver or Chicago.
Ravens general manager Eric DeCosta has already started making some of the tough decisions he believes can help Baltimore negotiate the leap from playoff qualifier to Super Bowl champion. After releasing running back Mark Ingram and quarterback Robert Griffin III last week, DeCosta announced Monday that the Ravens won't re-sign All-Pro long snapper Morgan Cox.
Police say music artist Trey Songz was arrested during the AFC Championship game in Kansas City after fans complained he wasn't following COVID-19 protocols and other rules and he then punched an officer who was trying to remove him. Songz, whose name is Tremaine Aldon Neverson, was released Monday from the Jackson County jail.
Suspended NFL receiver Martavis Bryant has signed with the CFL's Toronto Argonauts. The former Steelers and Raiders player had been suspended multiple times by the NFL for substance abuse violations. Bryant, who starred at Clemson, drew an indefinite suspension in 2018 while with Oakland. He has not played in the league since.
The New York Yankees made a rare trade with the rival Red Sox, sending struggling reliever Adam Ottavino to Boston along with minor league right-hander Frank German for a player to be named or cash. As part of the trade, the Yankees agreed to send Boston $850,000 on July 1 to cover part of the $8 million owed to Ottavino. He's a 35-year-old right-hander entering the final season of a $27 million, three-year contract. New York remains responsible for Ottavino's $3 million signing bonus, due next Jan. 15. A Brooklyn native, Ottavino slumped to a 5.89 ERA during the 2020 season.
Elsewhere in baseball:
The Atlanta Braves have agreed to a minor league deal with third baseman Pablo Sandoval. Sandoval would a $1 million, one-year contract if he is added to the team's 40-man roster. The 34-year-old Sandoval hit .214 in a combined 84 at-bats with the Braves and San Francisco Giants in 2020. He had no hits in two at-bats with Atlanta but was kept on the team's postseason roster. Sandoval, whose nickname is Kung Fu Panda, will try to prove he can return to the form he showed in 2019, when he hit .268 with 14 homers with the Giants.
The Pittsburgh Pirates have signed catcher Joe Hudson to a minor league contract with an invitation to spring training. The 29-year-old Hudson has appeared in 18 major-league games for St. Louis, Seattle and the Los Angeles Angels. Hudson is a career .167 hitter with one RBI in 30 career at-bats. He will be in the mix to compete for the backup job behind Jacob Stallings, a Gold Glove finalist in 2020.
The Cactus League and Arizona community leaders have asked Major League Baseball to delay the start of spring training due to coronavirus concerns just over three weeks before pitchers and catchers are supposed to report. The Cactus League made the request in a letter to Baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred obtained by The Associated Press. The letter was co-signed by the mayors of Mesa, Scottsdale, Surprise, Glendale, Goodyear and Peoria, as well as representatives from Phoenix and the Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community. Arizona is averaging just under 7,000 new coronavirus cases per day.
Justin Thomas is keeping another big sponsor in Citi. But only after the New York-based investment bank issued a strong condemnation of Thomas muttering an anti-gay slur when he missed a short putt earlier this month. Citi's chief marketing officer wrote a company blog post explaining the decision. The company says Thomas must give a "meaningful portion" of his sponsorship fee to various LGBTQ groups. He also must play an active role to increase awareness. Citi said it would drop him if it felt he wasn't sincerely working for change. Ralph Lauren previously ended its sponsorship of Thomas.
Also, Southern Hills is getting another PGA Championship earlier than expected. The PGA of America said the course in Tulsa, Oklahoma, will host the 2022 PGA Championship. It was supposed to go to Trump National in New Jersey. But after the Trump-fueled riot at the U.S. Capitol, the PGA voted to terminate the contract. Kerry Haigh at the PGA of America says it helped that the Senior PGA Championship is at Southern Hills this year. The PGA already has a staff onsite that can stay through next year.
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