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.
Bruins rolling, rest of NHL making final push for playoffs
SUNRISE, Fla. (AP) — The Boston Bruins are atop the NHL standings and running away with the Atlantic Division going into the second half of the season. But the playoff races are hot in the Metropolitan, Central and Pacific with roughly 30 games left to go down the stretch. There are 11 teams in the mix for eight playoff spots in the Eastern Conference and 10 in the West. All three New York-area teams could make it with the Rangers, Islanders and New Jersey Devils jockeying for position. And out west the Dallas Stars and Vegas Golden Knights are among the top contenders.
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.
No. 1 South Carolina tops fifth-ranked UConn 81-77
HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) — Aliyah Boston scored 23 of her 26 points in the second half, including 14 in the fourth quarter, to help No. 1 South Carolina beat fifth-ranked UConn 81-77. The Gamecocks have won 29 consecutive games since losing to Kentucky in the SEC Tournament title game last year. They’ve won four of the past five meetings with the Huskies, including a victory in the NCAA championship game last season. That ended UConn’s perfect 11-0 record in title games. Aaliyah Edwards led UConn with 25 points.
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.
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.
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.
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.