Irving to miss Nets’ game Saturday, day after trade request
NEW YORK (AP) — Kyrie Irving will not play for the Brooklyn Nets against Washington. It comes a day after he told the team he would like to be traded. The Nets say Irving’s absence is due to right calf soreness and he has been added to the injury report for Saturday’s game. Irving asked the Nets for a trade on Friday, a person with knowledge of the details told The Associated Press. The All-Star has been frustrated that the Nets have thus far refused to give him an extension on his contact that expires after this season.
NFL infuses Pro Bowl with points system, flag football
LAS VEGAS (AP) — The NFL has stopped pretending its all-star game was an actual game. The latest iteration of the Pro Bowl won’t have tackle football game but instead flag football. A series of events that accumulates three points each leads up to three flag football contests. The AFC took a 9-3 lead Thursday by winning the precision passing competition, the three-event lightning round and the long drive. The NFC won in dodgeball.
Panthers offer Sarah Nurse deal to lead girls hockey program
FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. (AP) — The Florida Panthers are offering Canadian forward Sarah Nurse a job to run their new program designed to get more girls playing hockey. Nurse scored a highlight-reel goal against New York Rangers netminder Igor Shesterkin during the NHL’s All-Star Skills Competition on Friday night. Panthers president Matthew Caldwell made the offer during an event on Saturday morning. Nurse played for Canada’s world-champion teams in 2021 and 2022 and with Canada’s Olympic gold winners at the Beijing Games last year.
Super Bowl-bound Eagles are built around QB Jalen Hurts
PHILADELPHIA (AP) — The Philadelphia Eagles are trying to win their second Super Bowl in franchise history. They went 14-3 this season largely on the play of quarterback Jalen Hurts. He is a finalist for AP NFL MVP, Offensive Player of the Year and tied a franchise record with 33 total touchdowns. Hurts is only 24 and could be rewarded with a new contract in the offseason. His only focus now is beating the Kansas City Chiefs next week in the Super Bowl.
Fight between Magic, Timberwolves leads to 5 players ejected
MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — A fight broke out and punches were thrown during the game between the Orlando Magic and Minnesota Timberwolves on Friday night. Five players were ejected following the brawl, which started in front of the Orlando bench late in the third quarter. Minnesota guard Austin Rivers and Magic center Mo Bamba were the initial players involved, and it spilled over to include several others on the court. Rivers, Jaden McDaniels and Taurean Prince were ejected from the Timberwolves. Jalen Suggs was tossed along with Bamba for Orlando.
US sweeps Uzbekistan, advances to group stage in Davis Cup
The United States swept its way into the group stage of the Davis Cup Finals, getting the winning point in a 4-0 victory over Uzbekistan from the doubles team of Rajeev Ram and Austin Krajicek. They beat Sergey Fomin and Sanjar Fayziev 6-2, 6-4, after Tommy Paul and Mackenzie McDonald had won singles matches Friday in Tashkent. Serbia, France and Sweden were among the other winners in the 12 qualifiers being held this weekend. The winners advance to the group stage that will be held in September.
Route to Super Bowl dangerous for Mexico’s avocado haulers
SANTA ANA ZIROSTO, Mexico (AP) — It is a long and sometimes dangerous journey for truckers transporting the avocados destined for guacamole on tables and tailgates in the United States during the Super Bowl. It starts in villages like Santa Ana Zirosto, high in the misty, pine-clad mountains of the western Mexico state of Michoacan. The roads are plagued by drug cartels, common criminals, and extortion and kidnap gangs so state police provide escorts for the trucks brave enough to face the 40-mile (60-kilometer) trip to packing and shipping plants in the city of Uruapan. Drivers are often robbed of their avocados and their trucks.
Pedulla’s 22 points lift Virginia Tech past No. 6 Virginia
BLACKSBURG, Va. (AP) — Sean Pedulla scored 22 points to lead Virginia Tech to a 74-68 victory over No. 6 Virginia on Saturday. Pedulla hit 6 of 13 shots from the floor and made 8 of 9 from the free-throw line for the Hokies (14-10, 4-8 Atlantic Coast Conference). Virginia Tech never trailed in registering its biggest win of the season. Justin Mutts added 17 points. Jayden Gardner’s 20 points led Virginia (17-4, 9-3), which saw its seven-game winning streak snapped.
NHL takes skills showcase outside, McDavid shines inside
SUNRISE, Fla. (AP) — The NHL took advantage of holding All-Star Weekend in South Florida by holding two Skills Competition events outside in the sun. A handful of players took turns hitting golf and hockey shots on a par-4 course. Others shot pucks at foam surfboards to splash opponents into dunk tanks on the beach with plenty flying into the ocean. Sidney Crosby got dunked steps from the beach, while Montreal’s Nick Suzuki holed a birdie with a hockey stick. Inside, Connor McDavid reminded the rest of hockey why he leads the league in goals by going 8 for 8 in the accuracy shooting competition.
Olympic echoes of boycott era as Ukraine vs IOC intensifies
LAUSANNE, Switzerland (AP) — A contest that could define the 2024 Paris Olympics is playing out 18 months before medals are awarded. It’s giving the International Olympic Committee a political challenge with echoes of the 1980s boycott era. Ukraine fired up its campaign on Friday to have Russia and military ally Belarus excluded from the next Summer Games. There was talk in Kyiv of a boycott and support from sympathetic governments in the Baltics and elsewhere in Europe. The IOC says their stance is “regretful.” The IOC has pointed to its own rules and Olympic history to make its case.