Hawks fire Nate McMillan with team stuck in 8th in East
ATLANTA (AP) — The Atlanta Hawks have fired coach Nate McMillan, who was unable to follow up on the success of leading the team to the 2021 Eastern Conference finals. Hawks general manager Landry Fields announcing the firing Tuesday. The Hawks are 29-30 and eighth in the East this season, struggling to remain in playoff contention. McMillan was 99-80 record as Atlanta’s coach, including a 27-11 record as interim in the second half of the 2020-21 season. His success that season earned him the full-time position. Overall in 19 seasons, McMillan has a 760-668 record with the Seattle SuperSonics, Portland Trail Blazers, Indiana Pacers and Hawks.
Alabama hoops star delivered gun in shooting, police say
TUSCALOOSA, Ala. (AP) — Police say Alabama basketball star Brandon Miller brought a teammate the gun that was used in a fatal shooting near campus. Tuscaloosa Police investigator Brandon Culpepper testified Tuesday that Miller brought Darius Miles’ gun to him on the night of the shooting after Miles texted him and asked him to do so. The allegation of Miller’s involvement on Jan. 15 came during a preliminary hearing for Miles and Michael Davis, who face capital murder charges for the death of 23-year-old Jamea Harris. Alabama coach Nate Oats says the team has been aware of Miller’s alleged involvement and he was just in “the wrong spot at the wrong time.”
Nuggets’ Jokic has a chance to join some exclusive clubs
SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — Nikola Jokic might be on the cusp of entering some highly exclusive clubs. There’s the three-consecutive-MVP club, with only Bill Russell, Wilt Chamberlain and Larry Bird as its current members. Then there’s the averaged-a-triple-double club, which includes only Oscar Robertson and Russell Westbrook. Jokic doesn’t care about being added to either of those lists. It might happen anyway. The best team in the Western Conference so far has been the Denver Nuggets, and the biggest reason why is the 28-year-old Serbian big man who might be the NBA’s MVP for the third year in a row.
On the clock: New timer will affect more than just pitchers
SARASOTA, Fla. (AP) — Of all of baseball’s tweaks under Commissioner Rob Manfred, the pitch clock might be the one that affects the most players. Whether you’re a pitcher, a catcher, a hitter or a baserunner, there’s no hiding from this rule change. The goal is to speed up play by limiting the parts of the game fans find particularly tedious. The clocks will count down from 30 seconds between batters. Between pitches, it will be 15 seconds with nobody on and 20 if there’s a baserunner. There are also limits on pickoff attempts that could help potential base stealers.
Column: LIV resumes after break that was anything but loud
LOS ANGELES (AP) — The PGA Tour is coming off two big weeks with Scottie Scheffler winning in raucous Phoenix and Jon Rahm at Riviera. Tiger Woods caused the biggest buzz of all. Now it’s LIV Golf’s turn. The Saudi-funded league begins its second season and will be compared with two loud weeks on the PGA Tour, with two more to follow. AP Golf Writer Doug Ferguson says this wasn’t a great offseason for LIV. It signed six players, none prominent. It also had four executives leave. The LIV season starts Friday in the Mexican resort of Mayakoba. One upside is a new television partner in The CW Network.
Avalanche defenseman Cale Makar back in concussion protocol
CENTENNIAL, Colo. (AP) — Colorado Avalanche defenseman Cale Makar is back in concussion protocol. Makar left his first game back after taking contact to his head Saturday early in the third period against St. Louis. The reigning Norris Trophy winner and playoff MVP had missed the previous four games after taking a hit to the head on Feb. 7 from Pittsburgh’s Jeff Carter. Coach Jared Bednar says Makar’s head injuries are related. The 24-year-old is expected to miss at least Colorado’s next two games Friday and Saturday.
Jake Paul takes next step in boxing journey with Fury fight
Jake Paul’s unorthodox career in boxing might just be about to get serious. The YouTube influencer-turned-prize fighter will be coming up against a recognized professional boxer for the first time Sunday when he takes on Tommy Fury. Fury is the half-brother of world heavyweight champion Tyson Fury. Paul turned to boxing in 2018 and has fought a fellow influencer, a former NBA basketball player and three past-their-best MMA fighters. He has won each time and built up his brand in the process. Fighting Fury is widely regarded as a step up. The WBC will grant Paul a place in its world rankings at cruiserweight if he wins.
Nets give coach Jacque Vaughn multiyear contract extension
NEW YORK (AP) — Jacque Vaughn, who has coached the Brooklyn Nets into playoff position despite the trades of Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving during another turbulent season for the franchise, has agreed to a multiyear contract extension. Vaughn replaced Steve Nash early in the season and the Nets announced Tuesday they were extending his deal. Terms were not disclosed, though general manager Sean Marks said the team looked forward to Vaughn leading the team “for years to come.” The Nets (34-24) are fifth in the Eastern Conference and have gone 32-19 under Vaughn, the fifth-best record in the league.
WWE leaning in to social media ahead of possible sale
WWE, an organization that is already king of the ring on social media, will attempt to expand its online presence this year with the $6.5 billion sports entertainment company talking about the possibility of putting itself up for sale. WWE surpassed 20 million followers on its flagship TikTok account during its most recent quarter, the first sports league to do so, and is launching three international TikTok accounts after the WWE Español TikTok handle reached nearly 2 million followers in its first year. But the company’s presence online is broad. The company says its YouTube channel topped 92 million subscribers in the fourth quarter.
Woods, McIlroy break ground on high-tech golf league site
PALM BEACH GARDENS, Fla. (AP) — Tiger Woods and Rory McIlroy are closer to seeing their high-tech golf league become reality. The ceremonial groundbreaking for the arena that will house the league that’s being called TGL was held Tuesday at Palm Beach State College. Woods and McIlroy are among the co-founders and were there for the first step of actual construction. Play will begin early next year. Woods and McIlroy so far have 11 players committed to the league. Besides them, the league will include world No. 1 Jon Rahm, Justin Thomas, Adam Scott, Collin Morikawa, Matt Fitzpatrick, Max Homa, Billy Horschel, Justin Rose and Xander Schauffele.