Kyrie Irving had 31 points and a season-high 12 assists, and the Brooklyn Nets overcame the loss of James Harden to beat the Houston Rockets 120-108 and move into first place in the Eastern Conference.
Harden sat out the fourth quarter against his former team with right hamstring tightness, finishing with 17 points, eight rebounds and six assists. The Nets put together the pivotal run without him, scoring 12 straight midway through the final period to turn a six-point deficit into a 107-101 lead, winning a game they trailed by 18 points.
Elsewhere in the NBA:
Anthony Edwards scored 11 of his 24 points over the final eight minutes to lead the Minnesota Timberwolves' rally for a 102-101 victory over the New York Knicks. Malik Beasley highlighted his 20 points with the go-ahead 3-pointer with 37 seconds left for the Timberwolves. They outscored the Knicks 22-9 over the final 7:50. Julius Randle had 26 points for the Knicks, who led by 18 points in the second quarter. R.J. Barrett's jumper at the buzzer was short for the chance to win.
Luka Doncic had 36 points and eight rebounds and the Dallas Mavericks held on to beat the Boston Celtics 113-108. Jalen Brunson added 21 points, including two late free throws, and Kristaps Porzingis finished with 19 points as the Mavericks won their second straight. Dallas led by as many as 23 points in the third quarter before the Celtics rallied to within single digits in the fourth. Jayson Tatum had 25 points and nine rebounds to lead Boston. Jaylen Brown added 24 points for Boston, which has lost its last two.
Svi Mykhailiuk scored 10 of his season-high 22 points in the fourth quarter and the Oklahoma City Thunder beat the Toronto Raptors 113-103. Mykhailiuk made 9 of 14 shots and had a career-high nine rebounds. Moses Brown had 20 points and 11 rebounds, and Isaiah Roby added 17 points and 10 rebounds for Oklahoma City. The Thunder outrebounded the Raptors 64-35 to snap a three-game losing streak. Toronto has dropped 13 of its last 14 games.
Andre Drummond left his Lakers debut with a bruised right toe, and Jrue Holiday scored 28 points in the Milwaukee Bucks' 112-97 victory over Los Angeles. Giannis Antetokounmpo had 25 points and 10 rebounds, and Khris Middleton added 17 points and eight assists as the Bucks snapped their three-game losing streak with a workmanlike victory over the depleted defending NBA champions, who are still without LeBron James and Anthony Davis. Drummond scored four points in 14 minutes before limping off the court early in the third quarter. X-rays were negative on Los Angeles' new center.
Devin Booker scored a season-high 45 points, Chris Paul added 19 points and 14 assists, and the Phoenix Suns held on to beat the Chicago Bulls 121-116. Booker made 17 of 24 shots from the field and 9 of 10 free throws. Dario Saric added 16 points off the bench. Phoenix has won four straight while Chicago has lost five in a row. Chicago was led by Nikola Vujecic's 24 points and 10 rebounds. Thaddeus Young added 19 points and 10 rebounds, and Denzel Valentine also scored 19 points.
Mike Conley scored 13 of his 26 points in the fourth quarter, Jordan Clarkson added 24 points and the Utah Jazz beat the Memphis Grizzlies 111-107 for their seventh straight victory. Bojan Bogdanovic added 23 points for Utah, which defeated Memphis for the third time in a week, this time overcoming 36 points from Grizzlies guard Ja Morant. Kyle Anderson had 18 points and 11 rebounds for Memphis, and Dillon Brooks finished with 17 points. Jonas Valanciunas added 16 points and 14 rebounds. Leading scorer Donovan Mitchell was not with the Jazz for personal reasons.
Damian Lillard had 33 points and nine assists and the Portland Trail Blazers beat the Detroit Pistons 124-101. CJ McCollum added 24 points and Carmelo Anthony and Robert Covington each scored 16 in Portland's fourth straight win. Jerami Grant scored 30 points for Detroit, which lost for the fifth time in six games.
Duncan Robinson and Jimmy Butler helped Miami rally from a 13-point first-half deficit by spurring a decisive eight-point fourth-quarter run to give the Heat a 92-87 victory over the Indiana Pacers. Robinson finished with 20 points and Butler added 18 as Miami avoided getting swept in the three-game season series with the Pacers. The Heat have won two straight since ending a four-game losing streak.
DeMar DeRozan scored 26 points and the San Antonio Spurs snapped Sacramento's five-game winning streak, beating the Kings 120-106 on Wednesday night. Derrick White added 18 points, Rudy Gay had 16 and Jakob Poeltl finished with 12 points and 14 rebounds for San Antonio. De'Aaron Fox scored 20 points and Tyrese Haliburton added 16 to lead Sacramento, which had not lost since March 20.
UConn star Paige Bueckers is the first freshman ever to win The Associated Press women's basketball player of the year. Bueckers received 21 votes from the 30-member national media panel that chooses the weekly AP Top 25. Dana Evans of Louisville was second with four votes. Maryland coach Brenda Frese is The Associated Press women's basketball coach of the year for the second time in her career.
Meanwhile, UConn sophomore James Bouknight has announced his intention to enter the NBA draft. Bouknight averaged 18.7 points per game this season, but played in just 15 contests, missing eight games after undergoing elbow surgery in early January. He struggled in his final three games and made just 6 of 16 shots in the Huskies' loss to Maryland in the opening round of the NCAA Tournament.
In other college sports news:
The Supreme Court heard arguments Wednesday in a dispute over NCAA rules limiting education-related compensation for college athletes. Under current rules, students cannot be paid, and the scholarship money colleges can offer is capped at the cost of attending the school. A ruling for the former players would not necessarily mean an immediate infusion of cash to current college athletes. It would mean that the NCAA could not bar schools from sweetening their offers to Division I basketball and football athletes with additional education-related benefits. Individual athletic conferences could still set limits.
Linus Ullmark stopped 31 shots and the Buffalo Sabres snapped an 18-game skid with a 6-1 win over the Philadelphia Flyers. Defenseman Rasmus Dahlin was the first off the bench as the final horn sounded and led a line of Sabres players high-fiving Ullmark in an arena without fans. It was the first win for Buffalo since a 4-1 victory at New Jersey on Feb. 23, and ended an 0-15-3 streak. The slump was tied for the league's 14th longest, and worst since the Pittsburgh Penguins had a 0-17-1 stretch during the 2003-04 season.
In other ice action:
Auston Matthews scored his league-leading 24th goal and goaltender Jack Campbell stayed unbeaten this season and the Toronto Maple Leafs downed the Winnipeg Jets 3-1 to extend their lead atop the North Division to three points. Zach Hyman and Alex Kerfoot also scored for Toronto. Mitch Marner, with two assists, earned his13th multi-point game of the season. Josh Morrissey scored for the Jets. Campbell, who missed the Edmonton game Monday with a lower-body injury, made 26 saves for the win. He improved to 7-0-0 on the season.
Rudolfs Balcers and Ryan Donato scored in the second period and the San Jose Sharks completed a two-game sweep of the Minnesota Wild with a 4-2 victory. The Sharks followed a shootout win on Monday with another strong performance against a team they are chasing in the standings. Nikolai Knyzhov also scored his first career goal and Evander Kane had an empty-netter for the Sharks. Martin Jones made 26 saves for San Jose. Kirill Kaprizov and Mats Zuccarello scored for Minnesota, and Kaapo Kahkonen made 29 saves. The Wild are winless in their last five road games.
Joonas Donskoi scored three times during Colorado's five-goal first period, and the Avalanche beat the Arizona Coyotes 9-3 in front of home fans for the first time this season. The team invited health-care workers, first responders, players' families and employees into Ball Arena. Gabriel Landeskog and Andre Burakovsky each added two goals, while Mikko Rantanen and Pierre-Edouard Bellemare both added another. There were 14 different Avalanche players who had at least a point. Michael Bunting, Oliver Ekman-Larsson and Conor Garland scored for the Coyotes.
Lias Andersson scored a goal in his first game back after missing more than a month and the Los Angeles Kings defeated the Vegas Golden Knights 4-2. The Kings snapped their three-game skid and a three-game losing streak in Las Vegas. Vegas had its six-game home winning streak snapped, and dropped just its third home game in regulation this season. Andreas Athanasiou, Jaret Anderson-Dolan and Alex Iafallo also scored for the Kings, while Cal Petersen improved to 4-1-0 against Vegas after stopping 40 shots. Peterson has both of Los Angeles' wins over Vegas this season.
The Vancouver Canucks' game against the Calgary Flames has been postponed by the NHL because of the league's COVID-19 protocol. Vancouver had two players and a member of its coaching staff enter the NHL's COVID-19 protocol list. The league says it will provide another update on Thursday. Meanwhile, Canucks have signed goaltender Thatcher Demko to a five-year contract extension. No financial terms have been released. Demko took over as the No. 1 goaltender for the Canucks after Jacob Markstrom went to the Calgary Flames in free agency. The 25-year-old Demko is 12-12-1 with a 2.77 goals-against average and .917 save percentage this season.
The Los Angeles County sheriff says detectives have determined what caused Tiger Woods to crash his SUV last month in Southern California but would not release details, citing unspecified privacy concerns for the golf star. Woods suffered serious injuries in the Feb. 23 crash just outside Los Angeles. He is in Florida recovering from multiple surgeries. Sheriff Alex Villanueva on Wednesday said detectives have determined what caused the collision but claimed investigators need permission from Woods — who previously named his yacht "Privacy" — to release information about the crash. A police expert refuted Villanueva's privacy claims.
It's Opening Day in Major League Baseball. All 30 teams are scheduled to play Thursday, and while attendance will be limited, spectators will be allowed a major league ballparks. President Joe Biden tells ESPN it was a mistake for the Texas Rangers to allow full capacity at their ballpark for their first game. Biden also says he supports discussions between the league and the players' union on moving the All-Star Game from Atlanta, over concern about legislation adopted in Georgia restricting voting rights.
In other Opening Day news:
Washington Nationals general manager Mike Rizzo says a player for the team has tested positive for COVID-19. Rizzo says four teammates and a staff member have been quarantined on the eve of the start of the regular season after contact tracing. The club is scheduled to host the New York Mets on Thursday night for opening day. Rizzo said the players involved will not be available to play in that game.
George Springer's Toronto Blue Jays debut will be delayed while he starts the season on the injured list with a strained oblique muscle. Springer left the Houston Astros to sign a $150 million, six-year contract with the Blue Jays. The 2017 World Series MVP with
The Royals will be without often-injured Kansas City Royals shortstop Adalberto Mondesi who will begin the season on the injured list with a right oblique strain for their season opener against the Texas Rangers. Nicky Lopez was recalled from the club's alternate training site in Arkansas.
The Chicago Cubs have agreed to a one-year deal with catcher Tony Wolters and designated right-hander James Norwood for assignment.
Indians' manager Terry Francona says he could use a rotation of relievers to close games in the first few weeks. Veteran Nick Wittgren will likely be the first to get a chance to close with James Karinchak and Emmanuel Clase also in the mix. Indians fans won't be allowed inside Progressive Field wearing Native American headdresses or face paint this season. The team said fans will either be ejected or denied admission for behavior that includes wearing headdresses or "face paint styled in a way that references or appropriates American Indian cultures and traditions."
The Seattle Mariners have placed center fielder Kyle Lewis on the 10-day injured list due to a bone bruise in his right knee, sidelining the reigning American League Rookie of the Year for opening day.
A bat Lou Gehrig used late in his career and the original home plate from Yankee Stadium when it opened in 1923 are among the items up for bidding in an online auction this week. SCP Auctions said the Gehrig bat dates to 1938, his next-to-last season in the majors. The home plate is from the original Yankee Stadium and the year the team won its first World Series championship.
The Seattle Seahawks and veteran wide receiver Tyler Lockett have agreed to a four-year contract extension that includes $37 million guaranteed. The deal locks up Russell Wilson's favorite target for the foreseeable future and will likely help Seattle in its attempts to ease a salary cap crunch for the 2021 season. Lockett's current contract was set to expire after this season and carried a salary cap charge of just under $15 million.
In other NFL news:
The Buffalo Bills added linebacker depth by signing Tyrell Adams and Marquel Lee to one-year contracts.
The NFL has plans to eliminate some restrictions from its current COVID-19 protocols for vaccinated players, coaches and personnel such as the need to participate in daily testing; quarantine periods due to close contact with an infected individual; and/or refraining from social gatherings among other vaccinated individuals.
Naomi Osaka's 23-match winning streak has ended. No. 2 Osaka lost to Maria Sakkari of Greece Wednesday in the quarterfinals of the Miami Open, 6-0, 6-4. The defeat was Osaka's first since February 2020 and ended any chance of reclaiming the No. 1 ranking this week from Ash Barty, who is in the semifinals. Sakkari will next play Bianca Andreescu of Canada, who dropped serve eight times but still outlasted unseeded Sara Sorribes Tormo in three sets.
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