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#SportsReport: Nets Defeat Magic; Rockets Top Knicks

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The Nets earned a 114-110 victory against Orlando as D'Angelo Russell and Spencer Dinwiddie carried Brooklyn to its fifth straight win. Russell had a double-double with 25 points and 10 rebounds, while Dinwiddie scored 29 to help the Nets improve to 26-23.

James Harden poured in a career-high 61 points and made the clinching layup with 3.8 seconds remaining in the Rockets' 114-110 victory over the Knicks. Harden's fifth 50-point game of the season also tied Kobe Bryant's single-game scoring record for a visiting player at the current Madison Square Garden.

The 76ers pulled out a 122-120 win over the Spurs behind Joel Embiid's 33 points and 19 rebounds. Ben Simmons had 21 points, 15 assists and 10 rebounds for the Sixers, who used a pair of four-point plays in the fourth quarter.

The Celtics won their fifth in a row as Terry Rozier furnished 22 of his 26 points in the first half of a 123-103 thrashing of the Cavaliers. Jaylen Brown finished with 23 points for Boston, which earned its 10th straight home win and dealt the Cavaliers their 17th loss in 18 games.

Checking out Wednesday's other NBA action, the Indiana Pacers' shot at a berth in the NBA Finals this spring may have crumbled in the first half of Wednesday's 110-106 victory over the Toronto Raptors. Pacers All-Star guard Victor Oladipo had to be taken off on a stretcher in the second period after suffering a serious right knee injury. Oladipo's leg bent awkwardly as he fell to the floor while trying to disrupt an outlet pass to the Raptors' Pascal Siakam. The team announced that he will undergo an MRI on Thursday, but the severity of the injury was evident. Oladipo is averaging a team-high 19.2 points for the Pacers, who are currently third in the Eastern Conference. Indiana went 7-4 when Oladipo missed 11 games earlier this season with a sore right knee. Thaddeus Young had 23 points and 15 rebounds to lead the Pacers. Darren Collison added 16 points as Indiana won its third straight.

Donovan Mitchell hit a season-high six 3-pointers while scoring 35 points in Utah's 114-108 win over the Nuggets. Ricky Rubio finished with 17 points and the Jazz nailed 19 shots from downtown in winning for the ninth time in 11 games.

Tobias Harris scored 22 of his 31 points in the first half of the Clippers' 111-99 victory at Miami. Montrezl Harrell scored 14 of his 16 points in the fourth quarter for the Clippers, who outscored Miami 44-26 in the first 20 minutes of the second half.

Kemba Walker contributed 22 points and seven assists to the Hornets' fourth victory in five games, 118-107 at Memphis. Nicolas Batum chipped in 18 points, while Jeremy Lamb and Tony Parker each added 17 to help Charlotte deal Memphis its seventh consecutive loss.

Blake Griffin scored 20 of his game-high 37 points in the first quarter as the Pistons dumped the Pelicans, 98-94 at New Orleans. Reggie Jackson added 17 points for the Pistons, who blew most of an eight-point lead over the final 92 seconds before Reggie Bullock grabbed a loose ball and slammed home a dunk with 14.5 seconds left.

John Collins provided a career-high 35 points on 14 of 16 from the field as the Hawks gave the Bulls their 11th loss in 12 games, 121-101.  Jeremy Lin scored seven of his 15 points during an 11-1 spurt that put Atlanta ahead by 16 through three quarters.

In NBA news, the Memphis Grizzlies could be bracing for a house-cleaning after falling into the NBA's Southwest Division cellar. Grizzlies guard Mike Conley says owner Robert Pera told him and center Marc Gasol on Tuesday that they will be mentioned in potential trade talks. Conley and Gasol are the NBA's longest-tenured teammates, having played their entire careers with Memphis. Gasol can opt out of his contract this summer and says he hasn't asked to be traded. The Grizzlies are 19-29 despite a 12-5 start and have dropped 13 of their last 14 games.


In men's college basketball: Stony Brook edged UAlbany, 67-66, UMBC topped Vermont, 74-61, and Hartford pounded New Hampshire, 74-39. 

In women's college basketball: UAlbany took down Stony Brook, 54-49, Vermont defeated UMBC, 58-44, Hartford beat New Hampshire, 66-48, Miami topped Syracuse, 84-71, and UConn destroyed SMU, 79-39.

In top-25 basketball, the Tennessee Volunteers had to work overtime to avoid losing their first game since climbing to the top of The Associated Press men's basketball poll on Monday. Grant Williams delivered a go-ahead, three-point play with 31.6 seconds left in overtime as the Vols held off Vanderbilt, 88-83. Williams poured in a career-high 41 points for Tennessee, which is 17-1 overall and 6-0 in the SEC follow its 13th straight victory. Williams went a career-best 23 of 23 at the free throw line. He scored Tennessee's first 10 points of OT.

In Wednesday's other top-25 finals, Jordan Caroline scored 26 points and Eric Musselman notched his 100th victory as a college coach with seventh-ranked Nevada's 100-60 pounding of Colorado State. Cody Martin added 19 points and brother Caleb Martin had 18 as the Wolf Pack improved to 19-1 overall and 6-1 in the Mountain West Conference.

Markus Howard scored 13 of his 23 points in the final six minutes and Sam Hauser added 19 as 12th-ranked Marquette held off DePaul, 79-69. Howard scored five consecutive points to trigger an 11-point run after the Blue Demons got within 56-52 with 7 1/2 minutes to play.

Armoni Brooks scored 17 points and 17th-ranked Houston drained 16 3-pointers on its way to a 94-50 romp over East Carolina. Brooks and Corey Davis combined to hit nine 3-pointers while the 19-1 Cougars finished 16 of 24 from behind the arc.

Tremont Waters scored a season-high 26 points and No. 25 LSU picked up its eighth straight win by downing Georgia, 92-82. Skylar Mays matched his season best for the 15-3 Tigers with 20 points.


Two legendary Olympians were in Albany Wednesday to promote a new upcoming sports competition. The Aurora Games named three-time Olympic gold medalist Jackie Joyner-Kersee and five-time Olympic gold medalist Nadia Comaneci honorary captains of the festival’s two competing teams. Speaking at the Times Union Center, Comaneci says she was eager to get involved when the games’ Executive Producer and Creator, Jerry Solomon, approached her.

“He mentioned about the Aurora Games, and just to do something to celebrate women in sports," Comaneci says. "And when he said that I said, ‘Yup, I’m in. Sign me in.’” 

The Aurora Games will run August 20-25. 


Rams kicker Greg Zuerlein appears on the team's first injury report ahead of the Feb. 3 Super Bowl against the Patriots. Zuerlein is listed with a left foot injury on the report and was spotted with a walking boot after the Rams returned from New Orleans. He still managed to hit the tying and winning field goals in the Rams' 26-23 win over the Saints in the NFC Championship Game, drilling kicks of 57 and 48 yards.

Patriots linebackers coach and defensive play-caller Brian Flores has had a second interview with the Dolphins about their vacant head coaching position. Flores was the first candidate interviewed for the job by owner Stephen Ross and general manager Chris Grier on Jan. 4, and they targeted him a week later as their choice to succeed Adam Gase. No agreement can become final until after the Super Bowl on Feb. 3, when Flores' defense will be tested by the NFC's highest-scoring team, the Los Angeles Rams.

In other NFL news, the Arizona Cardinals have announced that they signed the 35-year-old Fitzgerald to a one-year contract. Team president Michael Bidwell says, "No player has meant more to this franchise or this community than Larry Fitzgerald." Fitzgerald remains one of the team's top offensive threats, recording team highs with 69 catches, 734 receiving yards and six scoring grabs in 2018. The 35-year-old Fitzgerald caught the 116th touchdown pass of his career this season and became the third player with at least 1,300 career receptions. He shares the franchise record with 234 games played and is one of two receivers in NFL history with 2,000 yards receiving against three different teams, joining Jerry Rice. Fitzgerald's future was one of the big questions going into the Cardinals' offseason. Arizona fired coach Steve Wilks and replaced him with former Texas Tech coach Kliff Kingsbury.


The defending Stanley Cup champs are limping into the NHL All-Star break on a seven-game losing streak. The Washington Capitals have surrendered 21 goals in their last three games following a 6-3 setback at Toronto. Nazem Kadri became the second player in as many nights to record a hat trick against the Caps when he tallied twice in the third period. Nikita Zaitsev, Auston Matthews and Mitch Marner also scored to support Frederik Andersen, who made 18 of his 41 saves in the second period. Alex Ovechkin scored his league-leading 37th goal for the Capitals. Washington remains three points behind the Metropolitan Division-leading New York Islanders.

Elsewhere on NHL ice, Juuse Saros made a career-high 47 saves and Nick Bonino notched his first game-winning goal of the season to send the Predators past the Golden Knights, 2-1. Ryan Johnson also scored for Nashville, which is tied for first with Winnipeg in the Central Division with 64 points.

Mike Reilly broke a 1-1 deadlock 4:48 into the third period of the Canadiens' 2-1 win over the Coyotes. Jonathan Drouin provided a power-play goal and Carey Price turned back 30 shots in Montreal's fifth victory in six games.

Eric Staal's second goal of the night was a power-play tally that snapped a tie in the second period of the Wild's 5-2 verdict over the Avalanche. Jared Spurgeon, Charlie Coyle and Ryan Suter also scored in Minnesota's fourth win in five games.

Nino Niederreiter had a pair of goals while the Hurricanes scored five times in the second period of a 5-2 victory at Vancouver. The game was tied 2-2 until Niederreiter, Hamilton and Teuvo Teravainen scored during a 3:15 span late in the middle period to help Carolina finish 2-0-1 on its three-game road trip.

Zach Sanford and Tyler Bozak each scored in their first game back from injured reserve as the Blues whipped the Ducks, 5-1. Daniel Sprong scored the game's opening goal, but the injury-plagued Ducks were then buried in their 14th loss in 16 games.

In NHL news, another Gretzky is running the Edmonton Oilers for the time being after the team fired president of hockey operations and general manager Peter Chiarelli. President and CEO Bob Nicholson says Keith Gretzky will assume more responsibilities as the Oilers look for a full-time GM. The younger brother of former Edmonton standout Wayne Gretzky has been serving as assistant general manager. Chiarelli was let go following the Oilers' 12th loss in their last 16 games. Edmonton is 14-14-2 since firing coach Todd McLellan and replacing him with Ken Hitchcock, leaving them seventh in the eight-team Pacific Division.


The Australian Open women's final is set following victories by fourth seed Naomi Osaka and No. 8 Petra Kvitova. Osaka has reached back-to-back major finals with a 6-2, 4-6, 6-4 victory over No. 7 Karolina Pliskova. Osaka closed with an ace on match point to beat the woman who knocked out 23-time Grand Slam champion Serena Williams in the quarterfinals. Kvitova has advanced to a Grand Slam final for the first time since winning Wimbledon in 2014, posting a 7-6, 6-0 win over American Danielle Collins. Kvitova was more aggressive throughout, mixing big lefty forehands and well-timed pushes forward to the tune of a 30-9 edge in total winners. The champion in Australia will also assume the No. 1 ranking for the first time.


The Seattle Mariners are giving Ichiro Suzuki another chance to play in Japan. Suzuki could be on the Mariners' active roster for their season-opening series against Oakland in Tokyo. His agent confirmed the agreement and said Suzuki's deal would become a major league contract if he is added to Seattle's expanded roster for the two games against the Athletics. Seattle general manager Jerry Dipoto has said the 45-year-old Suzuki is expected to be on the roster for those games after spending most of last season in a front office role.

In other MLB news, left-hander Drew Pomeranz has agreed to a $1.5 million, one-year contract with the Giants, a deal that includes $3.5 million in possible roster and performance bonuses. Pomeranz was just 2-6 with a 6.08 ERA in 26 games for the Red Sox last season, one year after winning 17 games. He began his career with Colorado and has also pitched for the Athletics and Padres.

The Brewers have promoted general manager David Stearns, adding president of baseball operations to his title and giving him a contract extension after the team came within one win of the World Series. The Brewers also elevated chief operating officer Rick Schlesinger to president of business operations and boosted his contract. The Brewers won the NL Central at 96-67 before sweeping the Rockies in the division series and dropping Game 7 of the NLCS against the Dodgers.


Lindsey Von isn't quite done yet. The most successful female World Cup skier in history says she remains "hopeful" that she can fix her ailing knees. The announcement comes three days after Vonn hinted at immediate retirement after failing to finish a super-G in Cortina d'Ampezzo, Italy, citing severe pain in both of her knees. Vonn has 82 wins, the most among women and four less than overall record-holder Ingemark Stenmark of Sweden.

© The Associated Press 2019. All Rights Reserved. 

Jesse King is the host of WAMC's national program on women's issues, "51%," and the station's bureau chief in the Hudson Valley. She has also produced episodes of the WAMC podcast "A New York Minute In History."
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