NFL finale is showdown for playoffs: Chargers at Raiders
UNDATED (AP) — The NFL’s schedule changes for Week 18 will feature a Sunday night showdown for a playoff berth. To finish off the NFL’s first 17-game season, the Los Angeles Chargers at Las Vegas Raiders game was flexed from daytime to primetime. Both AFC West rivals are 9-7 and the winner will advance to the postseason.
The league also switched two games from Sunday to Saturday. Kansas City, already the AFC West champion, will be at Denver, followed by Dallas at Philadelphia. Neither of those games has the strong postseason implications of Chargers-Raiders.
In other NFL news:
— Ben Roethlisberger threw for 123 yards and a touchdown in likely his final start at Heinz Field as the Pittsburgh Steelers beat Cleveland 26-14. Roethlisberger says he is leaning toward retirement. He improved to 26-3-1against the Browns in his 18-year career. The Steelers also kept their slim playoff hopes alive with the victory. Pittsburgh needs a win in its regular-season finale against Baltimore and a loss by Indianapolis to Jacksonville to reach the postseason. Baker Mayfield threw for 185 yards with two touchdowns and two interceptions for the Browns.
— The Philadelphia Eagles have placed defensive tackle Fletcher Cox and tight end Dallas Goedert along with 10 others on the reserve/COVID-19 list Monday ahead of Saturday’s regular- season finale against Dallas. The Eagles already have a playoff berth clinched with only the seeding still to be decided Saturday night when they host the Cowboys. Under the NFL’s revised COVID-19 protocols, the Eagles could get all 12 back before kickoff. The Titans activated a trio off COVID-19 reserve led by receiver Julio Jones and linebacker Jayon Brown.
— The Tampa Bay Buccaneers coach Bruce Arians said Monday he has no regrets about giving the often-troubled receiver Antonio Brown an opportunity to play with Tom Brady and revive a career derailed by on- and off-the-field issues — even though it ended with Brown leaving the reigning Super Bowl champions in the middle of a game. Arians declined to discuss specifics of what happened but dispelled the notion Brown left after telling coaches he was too injured to re-enter the game.
— Las Vegas Raiders rookie cornerback Nate Hobbs was arrested on a misdemeanor DUI charge shortly after the team returned from a road game in Indianapolis. The Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department says dispatch received a call at about 4 a.m. Monday about a driver asleep inside a vehicle parked on an exit ramp of a parking garage. Hobbs’ attorneys questioned whether the arrest qualified as drunken driving.
Pistons snap Buck’s winning streak
UNDATED (AP) — Saddiq Bey scored a career-high 34 points and the Detroit Pistons beat Milwaukee 115-106 to snap the Bucks’ six-game winning streak. Detroit owns the NBA’s worst record but beat the reigning NBA champions and ended its recent futility in this series by getting a boost from the return of several players who had missed multiple games due to the NBA’s health and safety protocols. Milwaukee had won 12 consecutive regular-season matchups with the Pistons by an average margin of 16.7 points before Monday.
In other NBA action:
— Anfernee Simons had a career-high 43 points and the Portland Trail Blazers overcame an NBA season-best 56 points by Atlanta’s Trae Young, snapping a four-game losing streak in a 136-131 win over the Hawks. Young shot 17 for 26 from the field, 7 for 12 from 3-point distance and 15 for 15 from the line for his career-high scoring total, and added 14 assists. His 56-point game eclipsed Kevin Durant’s 51-point performance for the Nets at Detroit on Dec. 12.
— Anthony Edwards scored 28 points and the Minnesota Timberwolves routed the Los Angeles Clippers 122-104 to end a three-game skid. The Wolves gained a split in LA after losing by five to the Lakers a night earlier. The Clippers struggled mightily in their first home game of the new year. They had 39 made shots and 21 turnovers in the game. They got dominated in the paint, 64-42. Serge Ibaka tied his season high with 17 points for the Clippers, who have dropped four of six.
— Jordan Poole scored 32 points, Andrew Wiggins added 22 points, six rebounds and a key driving dunk with 4:34 remaining on a quiet night for Stephen Curry, and the Golden State Warriors held off the undermanned Miami Heat 115-108. Heat star Jimmy Butler was helped off the court with 3:14 left in the third quarter after hurting his right ankle going down awkwardly, leaving coach Erik Spoelstra with a worried look on his face given his team’s already depleted roster. Butler had 22 points, five rebounds and three assists. Curry had a season-low nine points.
— Ja Morant scored 36 points and five Grizzlies scored in double figures as Memphis extended its winning streak to five games with a 118-104 win over the Brooklyn Nets. Desmond Bane scored 29 points, Brandon Clarke added 16, and Jarrett Culver and Tyus Jones had 12 apiece. Kevin Durant led the Nets with 26 points on 8-for-24 shooting from the field. James Harden added 19 points in 5-for-14 shooting. Nic Claxton added 11 points and Blake Griffin and Bruce Brown each finished with 10 points as Brooklyn lost its third straight.
— Joel Embiid had 31 points, 15 rebounds and 10 assists in the Philadelphia 76ers’ 133-113 win over the Houston Rockets. It was Embiid’s third career triple-double. Furkan Korkmaz scored 24 points and Isaiah Joe had 18 points for the Sixers. Garrison Matthews led the Rockets with 23 points. Embiid scored 30 points for the fourth straight game. The Rockets played without Kevin Porter Jr. and Christian Wood. Both players were suspended one game for bad behavior.
— Kyle Kuzma had a season-high 36 points and 14 rebounds, Bradley Beal scored 35 points, and the Washington Wizards beat the Charlotte Hornets 124-121. Charlotte was led by Gordon Hayward’s 27 points. Terry Rozier scored 25 points, and Miles Bridges added 23 points and a season-high 14 rebounds for the Hornets.
— Luka Doncic had 21 points and matched a season high with 15 assists as the Dallas Mavericks beat the Denver Nuggets 103-89. Dwight Powell and Reggie Bullock added 15 points each for the Mavericks, who swept a back-to-back and matched their longest winning streak of the season at three games. Nikola Jokic had 27 points and 16 rebounds to lead the Nuggets, who had a three-game winning streak snapped.
— DeMar DeRozan scored 29 points, Zach LaVine added 27 and the Chicago Bulls won their eighth straight game, beating the Orlando Magic 102-98. Nikola Vucevic had 13 points and 17 rebounds for the Bulls. Coby White came off the bench to score 17 points. Franz Wagner led Orlando with 22 points. Wendell Carter Jr. finished with 21 points and 10 rebounds for the Magic, who lost their sixth straight.
— Donovan Mitchell scored 29 points, Bojan Bogdanovic added 21, and Utah Jazz beat the New Orleans Pelicans 115-104 to extend their road winning streak to nine games. Bogdanovic hit two of his five 3s in the final 2:31 after New Orleans had trimmed a 15-point deficit down to five. Rudy Gobert had 10 points and 18 rebounds for the Jazz. Jonas Valanciunas had 25 points and nine assists for New Orleans.
NBA reschedules games
UNDATED (AP) — The NBA has rescheduled all 11 games that were postponed in December for virus-related reasons and either shifted the times or dates of 10 other games to help accommodate those changes. Toronto had six games affected, Chicago had five and Brooklyn had four. In all, 18 of the league’s 30 teams had at least one game date changed by the postponements or future adjustments. The updates were revealed today.
In other NBA news:
— Brooklyn Nets coach Steve Nash says the organization is “hopeful” that Kyrie Irving could make his season debut Wednesday at Indianapolis. Nash added that “no determinations have been made yet.” Irving has not been vaccinated against the coronavirus, which makes him ineligible to play home games under a New York City vaccine mandate.
— The Cleveland Cavaliers have landed Rajon Rondo. Cleveland finalized its trade for the 35-year-old Rondo with the Los Angeles Lakers in what eventually became a three-team deal involving the New York Knicks. In the swap, the Knicks receive guard Denzel Valentine from the Cavaliers along with the draft rights to international prospects and cash from the Lakers. Ricky Rubio tore his left anterior cruciate ligament last week and is out for the season.
Davis scores 37 in No. 23 Badgers’ win over No. 3 Purdue
UNDATED (AP) — Johnny Davis scored a career-high 37 points and Brad Davison added 15 to help No. 23 Wisconsin get past No. 3 Purdue 74-69. The 11-2 Badgers used a late 16-5 run to take control for its third straight win. Davis also had 14 rebounds. Zach Edey took advantage of his size by scoring 24 points and grabbing 10 rebounds to lead the 13-2 Boilermakers.
Jaden Ivey added 14 points but it wasn’t enough to extend a 13-game home winning streak. Purdue lost for the first time since Dec. 9.
Meanwhile, Ben Mathurin scored 27 points, Christian Koloko added 22 points and 10 rebounds, and Arizona returned from an extended break to beat Washington.
The Wildcats moved the ball well offensively in their first game in 16 days, shooting 55% and finishing with 28 assists on 33 made shots.
Kerr Kriisa finished with 21 points and Arizona went 12 for 25 from 3 for its best start since opening the 2015-16 season 13-1.
COLLEGE BASKETBALL POLL
Baylor remains in top spot
UNDATED (AP) — Baylor kept its firm hold on No. 1 in The Associated Press Top 25 men’s college basketball poll with few changes at the top and no new teams entering the latest rankings. No. 2 Duke is No. 2. No. 9 Auburn climbed into the top 10 for the first time this season. No. 16 Providence rose five spots in the week’s biggest jump.
No. 24 Seton Hall had the biggest tumble by falling nine spots.
Contingency plan for FCS championship
UNDATED (AP) — A contingency plan is in place for the FCS championship game if Montana State or North Dakota State are impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. Both teams are scheduled to arrive in Frisco, Texas, on Wednesday, three days before the Football Championship Subdivision title game. Saturday’s game could be pushed back nearly a week if one or both teams fall below a minimum 53 players before arriving in Texas. If one or both teams are unable to play after arriving in Texas, the game would be declared a no-contest.
In other college football news:
— Louisville plans to retire the No. 2 jersey number of former All-America guard and fifth-highest scorer Russ Smith, who led the Cardinals to the 2013 NCAA men’s basketball championship that was later vacated. Smith’s jersey will be retired at halftime of Louisville’s game against Notre Dame on Jan. 22.
Rangers sit atop NHL after Kreider, Strome help beat Oilers
NEW YORK (AP) — Chris Kreider scored his 20th goal, Ryan Strome had a goal and two assists, and the New York Rangers beat the slumping Edmonton Oilers 4-1 for their third straight win. Alexis Lafrenière (lah-frehn-YEHR’) and Barclay Goodrow each had a goal and an assist. Adam Fox had two assists to help the Rangers win for the fourth time in six games.
They moved into first place atop the Metropolitan Division and the NHL. Alexandar Georgiev (GEER’-gee-ehv) stopped 33 shots to get his first win since Dec. 10. Ryan McLeod scored for Edmonton and Mikko Koskinen had 24 saves.
Another NHL game postponed
UNDATED (AP) — The NHL has postponed the Seattle Kraken’s home game scheduled for Thursday against Ottawa because of COVID-19 problems with the Senators. It’s the 92nd NHL game to be postponed for coronavirus-related reasons this season. Several of those are linked to attendance restrictions in Canada.
Meanwhile, the Buffalo Sabres added forward Kyle Okposo and another player to the league’s COVID-19 protocol list Monday.
The Dallas Stars removed 10 players from the list and appear to be on track to resume play Thursday. The Stars have not played since Dec. 20.
Oklahoma QB Williams enters portal, says Sooners an option
UNDATED (AP) — Oklahoma quarterback Caleb Williams said Monday he is entering his name in the transfer portal so he can speak with other schools, but he has not ruled out staying with the Sooners. The freshman and former five-star recruit from Washington, D.C. led the Sooners to a victory last week against Oregon in the Alamo Bowl.
Williams played for then-head coach Lincoln Riley posted his intentions on social media. Riley left Oklahoma to become coach at Southern California the day after the Sooners ended their regular season with a loss to Oklahoma State. Former Clemson defensive coordinator Brent Venables was hired to replace Riley.
In other college football news:
— Wisconsin linebacker Leo Chenal is entering the NFL draft rather than returning to the Badgers next season. Chenal announced his decision Monday on social media. The move comes after Chenal earned second-team honors on the Associated Press All-America team as a junior. Chenal was the leading tackler for a Wisconsin defense that allowed the fewest yards per game of any Football Bowl Subdivision team this season. Wisconsin (9-4) closed its season Thursday by beating Arizona State 20-13 in the Las Vegas Bowl.
Cameron Maybin retires after 15 major league seasons
UNDATED (AP) — Outfielder Cameron Maybin is retiring after 15 major league seasons. The 34-year-old had one hit in 28 at-bats from May 19-29 last season for the New York Mets. He was assigned to Triple-A Syracuse on June 3 and hit .182 with no homers and five RBIs in 44 at-bats for the Mets’ top farm team. Detroit selected him with the 10th overall pick in the 2005 amateur draft. Maybin had a .254 career batting average with 72 homers and 354 RBIs. He played for 10 major league teams and won a World Series title in 2017 with the Houston Astros.
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