James closes on NBA scoring record, Lakers fall to Pelicans
NEW ORLEANS (AP) — LeBron James moved 36 points away from breaking the NBA career scoring record in the Los Angeles Lakers’ 131-126 loss to New Orleans on Saturday night that ended the Pelicans’ losing streak at 10 games. James had 27 points to go with nine rebounds and six assists as he continued to close in on Kareem Abdul-Jabbar’s record total of 38,387 points. Brandon Ingram scored 35 points for the Pelicans. CJ McCollum had 23 points, highlighted by a late 3 to help New Orleans close out the final 3:14 on a 9-5 run that kept the Lakers at bay. Anthony Davis had 34 points and 14 rebounds for the Lakers.
Irving excused from Nets-Wizards, 1 day after trade request
NEW YORK (AP) — Kyrie Irving sat out the Brooklyn Nets’ come-from-behind win over Washington on Saturday night, a day after he told the team he would like to be traded. The Nets said Irving’s absence was due to right calf soreness, adding him to the injury report for their game against Washington. Brooklyn coach Jacque Vaughn said after the Nets’ 125-123 win that Irving did not attend the game and that the player’s absence was excused. 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.
Strong wind suspends third round at Pebble Beach
PEBBLE BEACH, Calif. (AP) — Strong wind has stopped play in the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am. That means a Monday finish with no amateurs. Peter Malnati is atop the leaderboard at 12-under par. Keith Mitchell and Joseph Bramlett were two behind. Mitchell faced the strongest wind on the worst part of Pebble Beach along the ocean. He made it through and then the horn sounded to stop play. The culprit was Monterey Peninsula. Officials say two holes are so exposed that golf balls were blowing around on the green. Once play stops at one course, it has to stop on all three.
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 hope All-Star weekend showcased team’s investment
SUNRISE, Fla. (AP) — Matthew Tkachuk is under contract to the Florida Panthers for much of the next decade. So is fellow All-Star Aleksander Barkov. And right there are two compelling reasons why players might want to join the Panthers in the coming years. The last few days might have helped the recruiting pitch. It’s no secret that Florida is a fine place to spend some time during the winter. But showing All-Stars what hockey can be like in the Panthers’ market might be the long-term benefit of the team playing host to the league’s midseason showcase game.
Mahomes, Hurts latest Texas prep QBs on Super Bowl stage
DALLAS (AP) — Kansas City’s Patrick Mahomes and Jalen Hurts of Philadelphia are set for the first Super Bowl matchup of two Texas high school quarterbacks. The football-crazy Lone Star State was once much better known for running backs such as future Pro Football Hall of Famers Earl Campbell and Eric Dickerson. Retired Texas high school coach Todd Dodge was at the center of the start of the transformation of the passing game as a quarterback near Houston around 1980. Now Texas is guaranteed to be the prep home of four of the past six Super Bowl-winning QBs.
Chiefs’ Hunt, Eagles’ Lurie behind Super Bowl-winning teams
KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — Kansas City owner Clark Hunt and Philadelphia owner Jeffrey Lurie are seeing sustained success. Hunt hired head coach Andy Reid after Reid had been fired by Lurie in Philly. Reid has helped the Chiefs to seven straight AFC West titles, four conference titles and one Super Bowl win. They have a chance at a second next Sunday against the Eagles. Lurie got his Super Bowl with Reid’s former offensive coordinator Doug Pederson, but eventually fired Pederson. Now he has Nick Sirianni, who got the Eagles to the wild-card round last season and the Super Bowl this season.
MVP Matthew Tkachuk lifts Atlantic to NHL All-Star Game win
SUNRISE, Fla. (AP) — Florida’s Matthew Tkachuk was right at home at the NHL All-Star Game. Again. Detroit’s Dylan Larkin had a hat trick, Toronto’s Mitch Marner had three assists and the Atlantic Division topped the Central Division 7-5 in the All-Star Game final on Saturday. Matthew Tkachuk was the MVP after a seven-point performance in two games for the Atlantic Division. Arizona’s Clayton Keller, Dallas’ Jason Robertson, Colorado teammates Cale Makar, Nathan MacKinnon and Mikko Rantanen all had goals for the Central in the final.
Jackson-Davis, No. 21 Indiana beat Edey, No. 1 Purdue 79-74
BLOOMINGTON, Ind. (AP) — Trayce Jackson-Davis scored 25 points and Jalen Hood-Schifino delivered the clinching basket on a breakaway dunk with 2 seconds left to give No. 21 Indiana a 79-74 victory over No. 1 Purdue. It’s the third time the Hoosiers have beaten a top-ranked team on their home court and the roaring, raucous crowd celebrated by quickly storming the court. Zach Edey had 33 points and 18 rebounds and nearly led the Boilermakers all the way back from a 16-point first half deficit. But after Braden Smith cut the deficit to 71-70 with 2:03 to go, the Hoosiers outscored Purdue 8-4 to close it out.
New-look Logano leads NASCAR back to the L.A. Coliseum
LOS ANGELES (AP) — Reigning NASCAR champion Joey Logano opened last year with a win in the inaugural Busch Light Clash at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum. It started a season in which he won his second Cup title. NASCAR is now back for the exhibition Clash for the second consecutive year and Logano said he considers the inaugural race one of the biggest wins of his career. The race Sunday does not count for points and is a warm-up for the season-opening Daytona 500. But nearby Auto Club Speedway in Fontana revealed it won’t host racing in 2024 as it undergoes a renovation, so the Coliseum could be auditioning for a spot as a points-paying race as the Southern California representative next year.