Lillard has 71 pts and 13 3s; Blazers beat Rockets 131-114
PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — Damian Lillard set franchise and career highs with 71 points which tied for the most in the NBA this season and 13 3-pointers and the Portland Trail Blazers snapped a two-game losing streak with a 131-114 victory over the Houston Rockets. Lillard tied Cleveland’s Donovan Mitchell for the most points in a game this season after Mitchell also scored 71 in a win over Chicago on Jan. 2. Lillard broke his own franchise mark of 61 points, which he’d done twice, on a 3-pointer with 4:42 left that also broke his career record for 3s in a game with 11. Lillard’s 13 3-pointers were one shy of the NBA record set by Golden State’s Klay Thompson in 2018.
Hawks hire Snyder as coach to replace fired McMillan
ATLANTA (AP) — Quin Snyder has been hired as the Atlanta Hawks coach. The Hawks reached an agreement with Snyder on a five-year deal only five days after firing McMillan on Tuesday. General manager Landry Fields stressed that Atlanta’s eighth-place standing in the Eastern Conference was not acceptable for a team that advanced to the conference finals in 2021. Snyder was coach of the Utah Jazz from the 2014-15 to 2021-22 seasons, accumulating a 372-264 record and leading the Jazz to the playoffs in six of his eight seasons. He said in the team’s statement he’s “thrilled to go back to Atlanta.”
Machado rips RBI double after agreeing to $350M deal
PEORIA, Ariz. (AP) — Manny Machado continues to be a very rich man. He also is still a very good hitter. Machado ripped an RBI double on the same day he agreed to a new $350 million, 11-year contract that will keep him with the San Diego Padres through 2033, according to a person with knowledge of the deal. The person spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because Machado must pass a physical before the deal is finalized. Machado got a big cheer from Padres fans on a chilly afternoon in Arizona before a spring training game against the Diamondbacks.
Bucks outlast Suns 104-101 for 14th consecutive victory
MILWAUKEE (AP) — Jrue Holiday scored 33 points, Brook Lopez made a tiebreaking layup with 24.8 seconds left and the Milwaukee Bucks edged the Phoenix Suns 104-101 for their 14th consecutive victory. The nationally televised game Sunday didn’t include Milwaukee’s Giannis Antetokounmpo or Phoenix’s Kevin Durant. Antetokounmpo was out with a bruised right quadriceps after leaving in the first quarter of the Bucks’ 128-99 victory over the Miami Heat on Friday. Durant has yet to appear in a game for the Suns and hasn’t played since Jan. 8 because of a sprained right medial collateral ligament.
Beyond Kane, much uncertainty ahead of NHL trade deadline
A handful of big moves already have been made well ahead of the NHL trade deadline. Plenty more are expected before Friday at 3 p.m. Eastern. Patrick Kane going from Chicago to the New York Rangers is the most highly anticipated deal on the docket. Aside from that, there is plenty of uncertainty and additional big-name players who could change places. Sunday alone brought Timo Meier getting traded from San Jose to New Jersey, Tanner Jeannot going from Nashville to Tampa Bay and Ivan Barbashev from St. Louis to Vegas. In the next few days, Arizona’s Jakob Chychrun is likely to be traded, too.
Chris Kirk, after 8-year wait, wins the Honda Classic
PALM BEACH GARDENS, Fla. (AP) — Chris Kirk waited nearly eight years to win a PGA Tour event again. Waiting one more hole on Sunday was no problem. Kirk stuck his approach to the par-5 18th to tap-in range, and his birdie on the first hole of a playoff lifted him past Eric Cole for the victory at the Honda Classic on Sunday. Cole had a chance, playing his third shot from the sand to just outside of 10 feet for a birdie that would have extended the playoff. But it lipped out, and Kirk nudged his ball in for his fifth career win.
Jake Paul takes first ring defeat by split decision to Fury
RIYADH, Saudi Arabia (AP) — YouTube star Jake Paul has suffered the first defeat of his professional boxing career. He lost a split decision Sunday night to Tommy Fury in Saudi Arabia. Paul knocked down the unbeaten Fury with a short left hand early in the final round of their cruiserweight bout, but the younger half-brother of heavyweight champion Tyson Fury controlled long stretches of the eight-round meeting at Diriyah Arena. Two judges scored the bout 76-73 for Fury, while the third favored Paul, 75-74. The 23-year-old Fury is the first true professional boxer fought by Paul.
Kyle Busch gets 1st RCR victory in Fontana’s NASCAR farewell
FONTANA, Calif. (AP) — Kyle Busch sent Fontana off in style. The veteran stormed up from the back after an early penalty and earned his first victory for Richard Childress Racing while winning on this Southern California track for the fifth time. Busch held off Chase Elliott and Ross Chastain in NASCAR’s final race on the gloriously weathered asphalt at Auto Club Speedway, which will soon be demolished to make room for a half-mile track. Busch drove his Chevrolet to victory in only his second race with RCR, which scooped him up in December after his 15-year tenure with Joe Gibbs Racing ended.
Charles Howell III with 63 wins in Mexico for 1st LIV title
PLAYA DEL CARMEN, Mexico (AP) — Charles Howell III has won the LIV Golf opener in Mexico. This one finally felt easy. Howell shot a 63 in the final round at Mayakoba thanks to a hot putter. He wound up winning by four shots over Peter Uihlein. Howell picked up $4 million for the individual title and an additional $1 million for leading his team Crushers to a nine-shot win. Uihlein was still in range of Howell until the 12th hole. Uihlein had to hit three tee shots. Only two of them counted but it added to a triple bogey. He battled back for a 68.
George’s heave just late, Jokic and Nuggets top Clips in OT
DENVER (AP) — Nikola Jokic had 40 points, 17 rebounds and 10 assists to lead the Denver Nuggets to a 134-124 overtime victory against the Los Angeles Clippers in a matchup of Western Conference contenders. Paul George nearly won it for the Clippers with an incredible shot at the end of regulation, but his long heave from just in front of the 3-point line in the backcourt came just after the buzzer. It was the 23rd triple-double of the season for Jokic and his 14th in the past 19 games. Denver is undefeated this season when he has a triple-double. Michael Porter Jr. had 29 points and 11 rebounds for the Nuggets. Jamal Murray added 21 points and 12 assists. Kawhi Leonard had 33 points to pace the Clippers.