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#SportsReport: 76ers Beat Pacers; MAAC Tournament To Leave Albany

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The Philadelphia 76ers welcomed back Joel Embiid and took a big step toward securing home-court advantage in the first round of the NBA playoffs. Embiid poured in 33 points and grabbed 12 rebounds in his first game in 3 ½ weeks to guide the Sixers past the Pacers, 106-89. 

Embiid returned to the lineup after sitting out eight games with a sore left knee. Ben Simmons had 15 points and six assists for the 76ers, who trailed by 14 in the second quarter before moving into a virtual third-place tie with the Pacers in the Eastern Conference. Indiana missed 17 of 20 shots in the third and scored only 11 points. Bojan Bogdanovic led the Pacers with 18 points.

The Timberwolves beat the Knicks, 103-92 behind Taj Gibson's season-high 25 points. Jeff Teague added 20 points and 10 assists in Minnesota's sixth consecutive home win.

Elsewhere around the NBA, the Suns' 19-game losing streak to the Warriors is over after Devin Booker scored 13 straight Phoenix points in the fourth quarter of a 115-111 victory at Golden State. Booker was 13 for 23 from the field and made all nine of his free throws before finishing with 37 points and 11 assists. Kelly Oubre Jr. added 22 points with four 3s in the Suns' first win over the Warriors since Nov. 9, 2014.

The Spurs picked up their fifth straight win by overcoming a 15-point, first-quarter deficit to beat the league-leading Bucks, 121-114. LaMarcus Aldridge had 29 points and 15 rebounds for San Antonio, while DeMar DeRozan added 28 points. Giannis Antetokounmpo had 27 points and 13 rebounds for the Bucks, whose lead in the Eastern Conference is down to two games over Toronto.

The Rockets have an eight-game winning streak after Eric Gordon scored 26 points and Chris Paul blocked Jalen Brunson's jumper in the final seconds to preserve a 94-93 victory at Dallas. James Harden shook off foul trouble to score 20 points for the Rockets, while teammate Clint Capela added 17 points and 12 rebounds.

Blake Griffin scored 17 of his 28 points in the third quarter of the Pistons' fifth straight win, a 131-108 rout of the Bulls. Andre Drummond had 16 points and 15 rebounds for Detroit, which has won 12 of 14 to take a half-game lead over Brooklyn for the sixth seed in the East.

Danny Green furnished five of the Raptors' team-record 21 3-pointers in a 125-104 dismantling of the Heat. Kyle Lowry added 24 points and 10 assists, while Pascal Siakam scored 20 as Toronto kept its six-game lead over Philadelphia in the Atlantic Division.

Mike Conley scored 14 of his 26 points in the fourth quarter of the Grizzlies' 105-97 win over the Magic. Avery Bradley added 21 for Memphis, which has its first three-game winning streak since mid-November.

The Hawks ended a three-game skid as John Collins had 23 points and 10 rebounds in a 128-116 victory over the Pelicans. Kevin Huerter scored 17 of his 27 points in the second quarter for Atlanta.


In the semifinals of the MAAC Tournament at Albany’s Times Union Center, Iona downed Siena in the men’s championship, 73-57. Marist topped Rider in the women’s semifinal, 62-52.

Today, Marist will play Quinnipiac for the women’s title at 2:30 p.m., and Iona faces Monmouth for the men’s title at 9 p.m. Albany has hosted the tournament for 20 years, but it will move to Atlantic City next year. With Albany being Siena College’s home court, MAAC officials believe the new location will be more neutral. TheTimes Union reports the MAAC Tournament brings the region nearly $3 million in sales.

Elsewhere in men’s college basketball, UConn defeated East Carolina, 82-73. In women’s college basketball for the America East tournament, Maine defeated UAlbany, 66-51, and Hartford took down Stony Brook, 64-59.

In top-25 basketball, the 12th-ranked Houston Cougars are finally able to celebrate a regular-season conference title. The Cougars are American Athletic Conference champions after Corey Davis Jr. delivered a career-high 31 points in an 85-69 win at No. 20 Cincinnati. Houston trailed by six early in the second half until Nate Hinton nailed back-to-back 3s to ignite a 35-12 spurt. Davis later put up consecutive 3s to put the Cougars up by 17 with 4:22 to play. It's the Cougars' first regular-season crown since sharing the 1992 Southwest Conference championship with Texas, and their first outright title in 35 years.

Khalil Iverson had a career-high 22 points on 10 of 14 shooting and grabbed 14 rebounds as No. 21 Wisconsin outlasted Ohio State, 73-67 in overtime. The Badgers led by as many as 23 points early in the second half, but the Buckeyes outscored the Badgers 27-5 over the last seven minutes of regulation to extend the game.

No. 22 Wofford has moved into the Southern Conference title game by knocking off East Tennessee State, 81-72. Fletcher Magee was 10 of 14 from the field and 6 of 7 from beyond the arc in scoring 26 points. Cameron Jackson added 20 points and seven boards to the Terriers' 28th victory.

Looking ahead to NCAA tournament, Bradley University has snatched an automatic bid from the Missouri Valley Conference. Also earning bids this weekend were Liberty for the Atlantic Sun Conference, Gardner-Webb from the Big South Conference, and Murray State from the Ohio Valley Conference. 


The Washington Capitals picked up their seventh straight win and expanded their lead in the NHL's Metropolitan Division. Carl Hagelin scored the go-ahead goal on a breakaway out of the penalty box as the Caps beat the Jets, 3-1. Hagelin helped the Capitals kill off their five minor penalties, making the team 19 for 21 on the penalty kill since acquiring Hagelin and Nick Jensen. Pheonix Copley stopped 33 shots to help the Capitals move four points ahead of the second-place New York Islanders and six points over Pittsburgh. Mathieu Perreault scored for the Jets, who still lead the Central Division by one point over Nashville.

The Penguins kept pace with Washington by ending Boston's 19-game point streak. Jared McCann scored a short-handed goal and an empty-netter as the Pens doubled up the Bruins, 4-2. Jake Guentzel's 34th goal of the season was the eventual deciding tally in Pittsburgh's fourth victory in five games. David Krejci and John Moore scored for the Bruins, who were 15-0-4 in their previous 19 games.

Elsewhere on NHL ice, the Flames are back atop the Western Conference and Pacific Division standings after Matthew Tkachuk registered a hat trick in Calgary's 6-3 win over the Golden Knights. Tkachuk finished with four points, Michael Frolik set up four goals and Mikael Backlund scored twice while collecting three points to help the Flames move one point ahead of the Sharks.

Aleksander Barkov followed his team-record five-assist performance in Friday's win over the Wild by contributing a goal and two points in the third period of Florida's 6-1 rout of the Red Wings. The Panthers led 3-1 until Justin Huberdeau, Dryden Hunt and Barkov scored in the first 7:44 of the final period. It was Barkov's 30th goal of the season, and Hunt's first in 33 NHL games.

Dustin Brown, Kyle Clifford and Carl Grundstrom provided the Kings' scoring in a 3-2 win over the Ducks. Jonathan Quick stopped 18 shots for Los Angeles.

In NHL news, NHL Hall of Fame defenseman Harry Howell has died at 86. Howell won the Norris Trophy as the league's top defenseman in 1967 and was a seven-time All-Star. He remains the Rangers' all-time leader in games played with 1,160, doing it from 1952-69 before going to the Oakland Seals. His uniform No. 3 was retired by the Rangers.

Flyers forward Jakub Voracek was given a two-game suspension without pay by the league for interference against Islanders defenseman Johnny Boychuk. Voracek was assessed a major penalty on the play, which occurred in the third period of the Flyers' 5-2 road victory on Saturday night.

Sabres forward Jack Eichel was suspended for two games without pay by the NHL for an illegal check to the head of forward Carl Soderberg during Saturday's 3-0 loss to the Avalanche. Eichel was assessed a minor penalty for the hit and will lose just over $107,000.


The last surviving daughter of Hall of Fame baseball slugger Babe Ruth has died. Julia Ruth Stevens was 102. Her family says she died Saturday at an assisted living facility in Henderson, Nevada, after a short illness.

In other baseball news, the budget-minded Tampa Bay Rays have renewed the contract of pitcher Blake Snell, who's receiving a raise of only $15,500 after winning the AL Cy Young award last season. The 26-year-old left-hander isn't eligible for salary arbitration. Snell will earn $573,700 this year after going 21-5 with an AL-leading 1.89 ERA over 31 starts. Snell who led the AL in victories after winning just 11 games combined over the previous two seasons.

Highly touted Blue Jays prospect Vladimir Guerrero Jr. will miss the next three weeks because of a strained left oblique. The 19-year-old third baseman was hurt Friday in a spring training game against the Pittsburgh Pirates.

Mariners third baseman Kyle Seager is awaiting MRI results after rolling over his left wrist during a spring training game. His X-rays were negative. It's unclear if the injury will risk Seager's status for Seattle's season-opening series in Japan.


Kyle Busch tracked down pole-sitter Ryan Blaney before completing a victory in NASCAR's Cup Series race near Phoenix. Busch passed Blaney with 16 laps to go before completing a weekend sweep at ISM Raceway in Avondale, one day after taking the Xfinity race. The back-to-back wins gave him 199 in NASCAR's top three series. Busch has won three times in the desert, including the playoff race last fall. Martin Truex Jr. finished second, followed by Blaney, Aric Almirola and Denny Hamlin.

Josef Newgarden has won the IndyCar season-opening race to continue Team Penske's strong start to the motorsports season. Scott Dixon was second for Chip Ganassi Racing, followed by Penske's Will Power and Ganassi rookie Felix Rosenqvist. Penske drivers have combined to win two NASCAR races, two Supercars races in Australia and now the IndyCar opener for four victories in seven days.


Francesco Molinari made an impressive Sunday push to win the PGA's Arnold Palmer Invitational at Bay Hill. The reigning British Open champion rolled in a 45-foot birdie putt on the final hole to cap an 8-under 64 that left him two strokes ahead of Matt Fitzpatrick. Molinari trailed by five strokes heading into the final round before finishing 12 under. Fitzpatrick carded a 71 to end up one shot ahead of Rafa Cabrera Bello, Tommy Fleetwood and Sungjae Im. Defending champion Rory McIlroy started the final round one shot behind and never got anything going in his round of 72.

Kirk Triplett made a 12-foot eagle putt on the second hole of a playoff with Woody Austin to win the Hoag Classic for his seventh PGA Tour Champions victory. The 56-year-old Triplett forced the playoff with a similar left-to-right breaker for birdie on the par-5 18th. Playing in the same group, Triplett and Austin each shot 3-under 68 to finish at 10-under 203 at Newport Beach Country Club. Jeff Maggert and Scott McCarron finished a stroke out of the playoff.


The Los Angeles Chargers released safety Jahleel Addae, who had started 59 games over the past six seasons. Addae started all 16 regular-season games last season and finished fourth on the team with 72 tackles along with one interception and a sack. His release saves $5 million against the cap with free agency set to begin Wednesday.

The Chiefs have released veteran linebacker Justin Houston after they were unable to work out a trade, freeing up $14 million in much-needed salary cap space. The 30-year-old Houston signed a $101 million, six-year deal with the Chiefs in 2015 that was at the time a record for a defensive player.

Two people with direct knowledge of the trade tell The Associated Press that the Jets have agreed to acquire left guard Kelechi Osemele from the Raiders. The deal is also expected to include draft picks for both sides.


Olympic track cyclist Kelly Catlin, who helped the U.S. women's pursuit team win the silver medal at the Rio de Janeiro Games in 2016, died Friday at her home in California. She was 23. Catlin's father, Mark Catlin, told VeloNews that his daughter killed herself.

© 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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