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#SportsReport: Nets Top Clippers; Celtics Hold Off Warriors

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Kyrie Irving scored a season-high 39 points, including eight straight in the fourth-quarter run that sent Brooklyn into the lead for good, and the Nets beat the Los Angeles Clippers 124-120.

Kevin Durant added 28 points, James Harden had 23 points, 14 assists and 11 rebounds, and the three stars scored all the points in the decisive 13-0 spurt. The Nets held on from there to snap the Clippers' three-game winning streak. Kawhi Leonard scored 33 points and Paul George had 26 for the Clippers, who entered with the NBA's best record and lost for just the second time in 12 games.

In other Tuesday action:

Jayson Tatum had 27 points in picking up the offensive slack for Boston without injured Marcus Smart, and the Celtics withstood another scoring spree by Stephen Curry to beat the Golden State Warriors 111-107. Curry scored 38 points with seven 3-pointers and joined the late Hall of Famer Wilt Chamberlain as the only Warriors to score 17,000 points for the franchise. Andrew Wiggins' layup with a minute to go for Golden State made it a three-point game, but Tatum converted a pair of free throws with 49.6 seconds left and Curry missed a contested 3 moments later.

Fred VanVleet set a franchise record with 54 points and hit a career-best 11 3-pointers as the Toronto Raptors beat the short-handed Orlando Magic 123-108. VanVleet made 11 of his first 12 attempts from 3-point range. He finished 17 of 23 from the field and 9 for 9 at the free throw line to surpass the previous Raptors record of 52 points scored by DeMar DeRozan on Jan. 1, 2018. The fifth-year guard out of Wichita State easily topped his previous high of 36 points set last season. Norman Powell added 23 points for Toronto, and Kyle Lowry had 14 points, 10 rebounds and 10 assists. Nikola Vucevic had 21 points and 18 rebounds for Orlando.

Damian Lillard scored 32 points, Gary Trent Jr. added 26 while hitting seven 3-pointers and the short-handed Portland Trail Blazers held on for a 132-121 victory over the Washington Wizards. Enes Kanter had 14 points and 15 rebounds for Portland, which improved to 2-2 four games into a six-game road trip. Carmelo Anthony had 21 points off the bench and Robert Covington added 19 for the Blazers. Russell Westbrook recorded a triple-double with 17 points, 12 rebounds and 10 assists for Washington, the only NBA team without five victories this season. Bradley Beal added 37 points.

Donovan Mitchell scored 32 points to lead the Utah Jazz to a 117-105 victory over the Detroit Pistons. Mike Conley added 20 points and Bojan Bogdanovic chipped in 18 for Utah, which reclaimed the NBA's best record with the Los Angeles Clippers loss to the Brooklyn Nets earlier on Tuesday. Royce O'Neale tallied 12 points and 13 rebounds. The Jazz (16-5) won their ninth straight home game. Royce O'Neale tallied 12 points and 13 rebounds. The Jazz (16-5) won their ninth straight home game. Jerami Grant scored 27 points to lead Detroit and Josh Jackson added 22. Mason Plumlee totaled 17 points and 14 rebounds for the Pistons. Detroit (5-16) lost its second straight game.

Domantas Sabonis scored a season-high 32 points as the Indiana Pacers beat Memphis 134-116, snapping the Grizzlies' seven-game winning streak. The Pacers scored a season high in points, building a double-digit lead early. Sabonis made 11 of his first 12 shots and had a double-double by halftime. The Grizzlies entered with the NBA's longest active win streak and ended up a victory shy of tying the franchise record of eight straight wins, set four times, most recently in 2015.

In NBA news:

The Phoenix Suns will allow fans to attend a home game for the first time this season when they host the Boston Celtics on Sunday. The team says up to 1,500 fans will be allowed into Phoenix Suns Arena, which underwent a major renovation during the offseason. Sunday's game will include free tickets for health care workers and their families, who will also get 40% percent off items in the team shop. Single-game tickets will go on sale for season-ticket holders on Thursday for games beginning on Feb. 8 against the Cavaliers. Non-season-ticket holders can buy tickets starting Friday.

Thunder point guard George Hill had a procedure on his right thumb Tuesday and will be out of action for at least four weeks. Hill joined the Thunder in the four-team deal that sent Oklahoma City's Steven Adams to New Orleans. He is averaging 11.8 points and 3.1 assists per game in 14 games. He is shooting 50.8% from the field and 38.6% percent on 3-pointers.

In other basketball news: 

USA Basketball has finalized the 14-player roster for the final round of AmeriCup qualifying later this month, a group led by NBA All-Stars Joe Johnson and Isaiah Thomas. Both Johnson and Thomas have past USA Basketball experience as well. Johnson was a member of the U.S. team that won the bronze medal at the 2006 World Cup. Thomas was a member of the 2018 USA Basketball Men's National Team. The roster includes five other players with NBA regular-season experience: Josh Boone, Treveon Graham, James Nunnally, Dakota Mathias and Jordan Sibert. Mathias played in eight games with Philadelphia this season. Also on the team that will compete in San Juan, Puerto Rico are Paul Atkinson, Cat Barber, Chris Daniels, Will Davis II, KJ Feagi, Ra'Shad James and Tre'Shawn Thurman. ormer Milwaukee Bucks coach and longtime NBA assistant Joe Prunty will coach the squad, with Othella Harrington and Yale coach James Jones on his staff.

USA Basketball won't have to wait long for intrigue at the Tokyo Olympics. The U.S. men will face France in its group opener and the U.S. women were placed in the same group as host Japan when the draw for the rescheduled Tokyo Games was held Tuesday. The U.S. men will also face Iran and the winner of the qualifying tournament in Canada as its other Group A rivals. The last time the Americans played France was in 2019 in the quarterfinals of the Basketball World Cup in China. France prevailed to end the U.S. medal hopes. The U.S. men are seeking a fourth consecutive gold medal. The Tokyo Games open July 23, one day after the NBA says is the last possible date for this season's NBA Finals. USA Basketball's roster won't likely be finalized until June at the earliest and will undoubtedly hinge on how deep some players like LeBron James go into the postseason.


In women's college basketball, Georgia Tech took down Syracuse 76-63. 

In men's top-25 basketball:

Davion Mitchell scored 27 points and No. 2 Baylor used a big run to pull away for an 83-69 victory over sixth-ranked Texas on Tuesday night. Baylor has won every game this season by at least eight points. Texas was within six points late before Baylor pulled away behind open 3-pointers from Adam Flagler and Mitchell. Andrew Jones scored a career-high 25 points for the Longhorns.

Luka Garza scored 27 points to reach another milestone and Iowa beat Michigan State 84-78. Garza, the nation's leading scorer, became the second 2,000-point scorer in program history. Garza, who has 2,009 points, is 107 points behind all-time leading scorer Roy Marble. Aaron Henry led Michigan State with 24 points. Joshua Langford had 15 points.

Devontae Shuler scored 15 points and fueled a second-half rally as Mississippi beat Tennessee 52-50, the Rebels' first win over a ranked team in more than two years. Ole Miss rallied from an 11-point first-half deficit and then withstood a late challenge by the Volunteers to stop a two-game skid. Yves Pons led the Vols with 13 points.

Taz Sherman hit two free throws with 6.4 seconds remaining and finished with 18 points as West Virginia held on to beat Iowa State 76-72. Sherman was 5 of 7 from the floor and made 7 of 8 shots from the line to lead the Mountaineers. Solomon Young returned after missing two games due to COVID-related issues and scored 15 points. Tyler Harris also scored 15 points for Iowa State.

Christian Braun hit four 3-pointers and scored 18 points, half of them during an 18-3 charge midway through the second half, and Kansas rolled past Kansas State 74-51.David McCormack also had 18 points and Ochai Agbaji added 15 for the Jayhawks, who had lost four of their previous five games. Kansas improved to 200-94 against the Wildcats, the most wins by any Division I school over another in men's college hoops. The Jayhawks have won 15 consecutive games against their longtime rivals in Allen Fieldhouse.

Eric Ayala made two free throws with three seconds left, and Maryland scored the final six points to rally past Purdue 61-60, ruining the Boilermakers' season debut in the Top 25. Aaron Wiggins had 18 points and 11 rebounds for Maryland and Ayala scored 16. The Terps went 8 for 13 from beyond the arc in the second half after going 1 for 12 from long range over the first 20 minutes. Trevion Williams had 23 points and 11 rebounds for the Boilermakers, whose three-game road winning streak ended.


Tyler Toffoli and Josh Anderson each scored twice, and the Montreal Canadiens celebrated captain Shea Weber's 1,000th game with a 5-3 win over the Vancouver Canucks. Antoine Roussel, Elias Pettersson and Tanner Pearson scored for the Canucks. Jake Allen made 36 saves for Montreal. Thatcher Demko stopped 28 shots for Vancouver.

In other rink action:

Jesse Puljujarvi scored two goals and the Edmonton Oilers beat the Ottawa Senators 4-2 to complete a sweep of the teams' two-game set. Darnell Nurse and Leon Draisaitl also scored for Edmonton. Connor McDavid and Tyson Barrie each had a pair of assists. Cedric Paquette scored in the second period and rookie Tim Stutzle added a late goal for the struggling Senators, who dipped to 1-8-1.

Danton Heinen and David Backes scored, and the Anaheim Ducks snapped a three-game losing streak with a 3-1 victory over the Los Angeles Kings in the first Freeway Faceoff of the season. John Gibson made 20 saves and Nicolas Deslauriers had an empty-net goal for the Ducks. Arthur Kaliyev scored in the 19-year-old's NHL debut for the Kings, who have lost two straight. Cal Petersen stopped 40 shots in a strong performance for Los Angeles. Heinen's third goal of the season highlighted a dominant opening period by the Ducks, whose slow starts and weak offense have been constants.

Philipp Grubauer stopped 27 shots to lead the short-handed Colorado Avalanche to a 2-1 win over the Minnesota Wild. Logan O'Connor and Valeri Nichushkin scored, and Cale Makar had an assist for the Avalanche, who have earned five of a possible six points in the third of four straight games against the Wild. Kirill Kaprizov scored and Cam Talbot had 29 saves for Minnesota. Colorado leading scorer and first-line center Nathan MacKinnon is out with a lower-body injury that will keep him sidelined week-to-week.

Nikolaj Ehlers' first-period goal was the eventual game-winner and the Winnipeg Jets held on for a 3-2 win over the Calgary Flames in the second game of a three-game set. Trevor Lewis and Derek Forbort also scored for Winnipeg, which lost to Calgary in a shootout a night earlier. Matthew Tkachuk scored twice for Calgary. Both clubs played their backup goalies. Winnipeg's Laurent Brossoit stopped 29 of 31 shots for his second win of the season. Calgary's David Rittich turned away 25 of 28 shots.

Joe Pavelski had two goals and an assist, rookie Jake Oettinger made 23 saves and the Dallas Stars beat the Columbus Blue Jackets 6-3. Dallas snapped a two-game skid. Pavelski has a team-leading seven goals and 13 points for the Stars, who improved to 5-1-1 after being forced to delay the start of the season due to a COVID-19 outbreak. Jamie Benn, Denis Gurianov, Radek Faksa and Alexander Radulov also scored for Dallas. Benn picked up two assists. Mikhail Grigorenko had a goal and an assist, and Seth Jones and Dean Kukan got their first tallies of the season for Columbus.

Andrei Svechnikov scored in regulation and again in the shootout, and the Carolina Hurricanes beat the Chicago Blackhawks 4-3. Warren Foegele had a goal and an assist in his return to the lineup, helping Carolina win for the sixth time in its first seven games. Vincent Trocheck also scored, and captain Jordan Staal had two assists. Svechnikov had the only successful attempt in the shootout, closing out the victory after James Reimer turned away Alex DeBrincat, Patrick Kane and Dylan Strome for Chicago.

Ryan O'Reilly and Vince Dunn scored to lead the St. Louis Blues to a 4-3 win over the Arizona Coyotes. Jordan Binnington made 30 saves as St. Louis stretched its winning streak to four games. Justin Faulk and Mike Hoffman also scored for the Blues. Christian Dvorak scored twice for the Coyotes and Darcy Kuemper made 28 saves for Arizona, which hasn't won consecutive games this season.

In NHL news, the Buffalo Sabres are the latest NHL team to be shut down because of players in COVID protocol. The league has announced the Sabres are shut down through at least Saturday after two players were added to the COVID-19 protocol list. Buffalo played New Jersey twice over the weekend, and the Devils are also off through at least Saturday with 10 players on the list. Buffalo's game at he New York Islanders scheduled for tonight was already postponed. This move postpones three additional games, bringing the NHL's total to 18 so far.


Grant Jackson, the winning pitcher in Game 7 of the 1979 World Series for the Pittsburgh Pirates, has died from COVID-19 complications. He was 78. Jackson was a reliable left-hander for 18 seasons in the majors. He was 86-75 with 79 saves and a 3.46 ERA in 692 games from 1965-82. He was 3-0 with a 2.55 ERA in 13 postseason appearances. Jackson was an NL All-Star in 1969 who pitched in the World Series with Baltimore in 1971, the New York Yankees in 1976 and the '79 Pirates. In that 1979 Game 7, Jackson entered in the fifth inning with the Pirates trailing Baltimore 1-0. He pitched 2 2/3 hitless innings at Memorial Stadium and was replaced by Kent Tekulve in the eighth with Pittsburgh ahead 2-1. Pittsburgh won 4-1, completing a comeback from a deficit of three games to one.

In other baseball news:

The Red Sox have used a platoon of players at second base over the past three seasons since Dustin Pedroia's major league future was disrupted by a knee injury in 2017. A day after the four-time All-Star and four-time Gold Glove winner announced he'd end his attempts to return and retire, his former team officially began the process of moving on. The Red Sox announced the signing of Enrique Hernández, a 29-year-old who arrives fresh off contributing to the Dodgers' World Series title during last year's pandemic-shortened season.

Two-time All-Star pitcher Chris Archer has agreed to rejoin the Tampa Bay Rays on a $6.5 million, one-year contract, a person familiar with the deal told The Associated Press. The 32-year-old right-hander, an All-Star with the Rays in 2015 and 2017, is expected to get an opportunity to compete for a spot in the starting rotation for the defending AL champions. Archer went 54-68 with a 3.69 ERA in seven seasons with the Rays, who traded him to Pittsburgh in July 2018. He missed the pandemic-shortened 2020 season after undergoing thoracic outlet surgery.

The San Diego Padres have promoted general manager A.J. Preller to president of baseball operations and extended his contract through the 2026 season. The Padres also promoted Erik Greupner from president of business operations to CEO and extended his contract through 2026. Preller has rebuilt the Padres into a playoff team. They ended a 13-year postseason drought in 2020, beating the St. Louis Cardinals in a wild card series before losing to the rival Los Angeles Dodgers in the NL Division Series.

Pitching coach Mickey Callaway has been suspended by the Los Angeles Angels after allegations of inappropriate behavior toward several women who work in sports media. The Angels announced their decision a day after the allegations against the former New York Mets manager appeared in a report by The Athletic. Angels spokesperson Marie Garvey says the team "will work closely with MLB to conduct a full investigation." The five women who spoke to The Athletic on condition of anonymity gave detailed accounts of multiple instances of aggressive, inappropriate acts by Callaway over five years while he was employed by three teams.

Former major leaguer Denard Span has been hired by the Tampa Bay Rays as a special assistant in baseball operations. The 36-year-old native of Tampa batted .281 with 71 homers and 490 RBIs over 11 seasons with the Rays, Minnesota Twins, Washington Nationals, San Francisco Giants and Seattle Mariners. He's among six new additions to Tampa Bay's baseball operations department.


Here's one more thing the coronavirus pandemic has ruined for at least some people: betting on the Super Bowl. The American Gaming Association, the gambling industry's national trade group, released a report Tuesday predicting that the number of people planning to make a bet on the big game will decrease this year. That's largely because many people still haven't returned to work settings, where office pools and squares pools are often circulated and filled out, as well as because fewer people are planning to make bets at in-person sports books, including casinos and horse tracks. But at the same time, the report predicts that the rapid growth of legal sports betting in the U.S. should easily smash records in terms of the amount wagered online — the manner in which most sports bets are made. The AGA report says 23.2 million Americans plan to bet on the game that pits defending champions Patrick Mahomes and the Kansas City Chiefs against Tom Brady and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. That would be a decline of 12% from last year's levels. It says the $4.3 billion they are projected to wager, both legally and otherwise, would be down 38% from last year's Super Bowl. But it also forecast a record 7.6 million Americans betting with online sportsbooks, up 63% from last year.


A coalition of 180 rights groups is calling for a boycott of next year's Beijing Winter Olympics, citing reported human rights abuses in China. The games are to open on February 4, 2022. The coalition is made up of groups representing Tibetans, Uighurs, Inner Mongolians and others. The group has issued an open letter to governments calling for a boycott of the Olympics to "to ensure they are not used to embolden the Chinese government's appalling rights abuses and crackdowns on dissent." Rights groups have previously asked the International Olympic Committee to move the games from China. 

© The Associated Press 2021. All Rights Reserved.