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Nuggets get past Mavs
UNDATED (AP) — The Denver Nuggets are spending at least one more day atop the NBA’s Northwest Division after pulling out a victory in Dallas.
Nikola Jokic (nee-KOH’-lah YOH’-kihch) scored 21 of his 33 points in the third quarter and furnished the winning basket with 7.9 seconds left as the Nuggets rallied past the Mavericks, 107-106. He shot 8-for-11 in the third period, including 4-for-6 from 3-point range. Jokic got hot after being shut out in the first quarter.
Jeremi Grant finished with 15 points and Jamal Murray added 14 to help Denver improve to 26-11, the second-best record in the Western Conference.
The Nuggets swarmed Luka Doncic (DAHN’-chihch) on the Mavericks’ final possession, forcing him to pass the ball. Doncic fell one rebound shy of a triple-double, contributing 27 points and 10 assists.
Checking out Wednesday’s other NBA action:
— DeMar DeRozan scored 30 points and the Spurs opened on a 22-3 run before holding off the Celtics, 129-114. Boston pulled within 76-69 before Kemba Walker was hit with technical fouls and an automatic ejection in the third quarter, allowing LaMarcus Aldridge to hit two free throws. Gordon Hayward had 18 points for the Celtics, who have dropped two straight for just the third time this season.
— Duncan Robinson provided 11 of his 17 points while the Heat outscored the Pacers 38-23 in the third quarter to pull away in a 122-108 victory at Indiana. Tyler Herro (HEE’-roh) had a team-high 19 points for Miami, one more than Bam Adebayo (ad-eh-BAY’-oh) and Derrick Jones. Pacers forward Domantas Sabonis (dah-BOH’-nihz) finished with 27 points and 14 rebounds for his 30th double-double of the season.
— Serge Ibaka (ih-BAH’-kah) dropped in 23 points, grabbed 11 boards and drained two free throws with 5.1 seconds left in overtime to secure the Raptors’ 112-110 victory at Charlotte. Terence Davis also had 23 points and 11 boards as Toronto avoided taking losses on back-to-back nights for the first time since Dec. 26-27, 2017. Terry Rozier led the Hornets with 27 points, but his 3-pointer at the buzzer in overtime fell short.
— The Rockets pulled out a 122-115 triumph against the Hawks as James Harden provided 41 points, 11 rebounds and 11 assists for his second straight triple-double. Harden sank four straight free throws with 10.4 seconds left to clinch it. Clint Capela (kah-PEH’-lah) had 22 points and 22 rebounds, while Ben McLemore chipped in 18 points in Houston's third straight win.
— Nikola Vucevic (VOO’-seh-vihch) scored 29 points and Evan Fournier added 19 in the Magic’s 123-89 thumping of the Wizards. Orlando trailed by one before closing the first half on a 23-5 spurt.
Oladipo hopes to return before February
UNDATED (AP) — The Indiana Pacers could be getting a major talent boost at the end of the month.
Pacers guard Victor Oladipo (oh-lah-DEE’-poh) says he hopes to return to game action Jan. 29 against the Chicago Bulls. It's the first time since Oladipo sustained a season-ending knee injury last January that the team or the two-time All-Star has established a specific date.
Oladipo was averaging 18.8 points, 5.6 rebounds, 5.2 assists and 1.7 steals when he was injured.
In other NBA news:
— Anthony Davis plans to travel with the Lakers on their upcoming road trip after he bruised his buttocks in a nasty fall during Tuesday’s 118-87 rout of the Knicks. An MRI exam on Davis showed no major concerns, and X-rays were negative. Davis was extremely sore, but his injuries appear to be only bruises.
— Knicks forward-center Bobby Portis was fined $25,000 by the NBA for recklessly making contact above the shoulders of an airborne shooter. Portis was assessed a Flagrant Foul 2 and ejected in the second quarter of the Knicks' 117-87 loss at the Los Angeles Lakers on Tuesday night. Portis is averaging 9.9 points, 5.6 rebounds and 20.6 minutes in 37 games this season.
— Warriors coach Steve Kerr has been fined $25,000 by the NBA for verbally abusing a game official and failing to leave the court in a timely manner following an ejection in Monday’s 13-point loss at Sacramento. Kerr appeared initially upset about a continuation call that went the Kings' way and later he erupted after Golden State did not receive a similar call, leading to consecutive technical fouls.
Judge is Giants’ new coach
UNDATED (AP) — Joe Judge is officially the new coach of the New York Giants.
The New England Patriots special teams coordinator and receivers coach reached a contract agreement Wednesday. The deal was finalized a day after the 38-year-old was offered the job and asked to turn around a franchise that has made the playoffs once since the 2011 season,
Judge succeeds Pat Shurmur, who was fired a week ago after winning nine games in two seasons.
Judge was not considered a front-runner for the Giants job.
In other NFL news:
— Patriots quarterback Tom Brady says in an Instagram post to fans that he still has more to prove following a season that ended with his team failing to reach the Super Bowl for the first time since 2015. Brady's current contract ends in March. If he's not re-signed he could become an unrestricted free agent for the first time in his 20-year career.
— One of Matt Rhule's (roolz) first major decisions as the Panthers new head coach will involve the team's quarterback situation. Rhule says he's already spoken to quarterback Cam Newton and that he has the utmost respect for him. But the 44-year-old first-time NFL coach says he isn't ready to discuss personnel issues. Newton is scheduled to cost $21.1 million under next year's salary cap.
T25 MEN’S BASKETBALL-SCHEDULE
Jayhawks hammer Cyclones
UNDATED (AP) — Third-ranked Kansas is 12-2 overall and 2-0 in the Big 12 after an easy win at Iowa State.
Devon Dotson had 20 points and David McCormack added 16 in the Jayhawks’ 79-53 romp over the Cyclones. Kansas carried a 20-point lead into the second half before holding Iowa State to a season-low 27 points the rest of the way.
The Jayhawks have won 12 of their last 13 games, with the lone blemish being a one-point setback at Villanova.
In other top-25 finals:
— Devin Vassell (va-SEHL’) contributed 17 points and No. 10 Florida State pulled away in the final 10 minutes to beat Wake Forest, 78-68. M.J. Walker scored 12 of his 15 points in the first half for the Seminoles, who trailed with just over 14 minutes remaining before going ahead for good on RaiQuan Gray’s 3-pointer.
Huggins fined $10,000 for criticizing officials.
UNDATED (AP) — The Big 12 Conference has fined West Virginia coach Bob Huggins $10,000 for referring to an officiating crew as “three blind mice” following Saturday’s loss at No. 3 Kansas.
Commissioner Bob Bowlsby issued a statement saying the comment violates the Big 12 sportsmanship policy, adding that the fine amount and public reprimand are appropriate given that it’s Huggins’ third such incident.
Also, in college basketball:
— Pittsburgh basketball coach Jeff Capel has agreed to a two-year contract extension that would keep him with the Panthers through the 2026-27 season. Pitt is 11-4 overall and 2-2 in the ACC following Wednesday’s victory at North Carolina. Capel was 14-19 in his first year at the helm last season, a six-win improvement from former coach Kevin Stallings’ final year at Pitt.
Flyers top Caps
UNDATED (AP) — The Philadelphia Flyers had a successful homecoming after staggering through a 1-4-1 road trip.
The Flyers had dropped four in a row before Kevin Hayes scored the go-ahead goal late in the second period of their 3-2 victory against the Capitals. Robert Hagg and Travis Konecny (kah-NEHK’-nee) also scored as Philadelphia improved its NHL-best home record to 14-2-4.
The Capitals had won three straight and 14 of the last 19. They lead the NHL with 65 points, four more than Boston and St. Louis.
Williams returns to Hurricanes
UNDATED (AP) — Justin Williams is back with the Carolina Hurricanes after taking a break from hockey last fall.
The 38-year-old former captain said Wednesday he isn’t sure exactly when he’ll be ready to play, though he has been skating and working out in hopes of easing the transition back to the ice.
The team announced Tuesday night that it had signed the three-time Stanley Cup champion to a one-year contract for the remainder of the season.
Also around the NHL:
— The Flames and defenseman Rasmus Andersson have agreed to a six-year, $27.3 million contract extension. The 23-year-old native of Sweden has three goals and 12 points in 44 games for Calgary this season, his second in the league.
— Stars defenseman Stephen Johns could be nearing a return after missing a season and a half because of issues with headaches. The Stars have loaned Johns to the AHL’s Texas Stars for a conditioning assignment.
Fromm leaving Bulldogs for draft
UNDATED (AP) — Jake Fromm has added himself to the list of players who will be available in the upcoming NFL draft.
The Georgia quarterback is giving up his senior season of eligibility to enter the draft. Fromm threw for a career-high 2,860 yards this season with 24 touchdowns and just five interceptions, but he posted the lowest completion percentage and quarterback rating of his college career.
Wisconsin All-America center Tyler Biadasz says he will skip his senior season to go to the NFL. He was a unanimous All-America this season and won the Rimington Trophy as the nation's top center.
Minnesota safety Antoine Winfield Jr. is skipping his final two years of eligibility to enter the NFL draft. Winfield earned consensus All-American honors in 2019 and tied the single-season program record with seven interceptions.
In other college football news:
— Rocky Long is retiring as San Diego State’s head coach after taking the Aztecs to nine straight bowl games. The Aztecs were 10-3 last season, capped by a 48-11 victory over Central Michigan in the New Mexico Bowl. Long will be replaced by Brady Hoke, who has been a head coach at Michigan, San Diego State and Ball State before becoming the Aztecs’ defensive line coach.
— Oregon State coach Jonathan Smith has received a three-year contract extension that would keep him with the Beavers through the 2025 season. The Beavers went 5-7 overall this season and 4-5 in the Pac-12, finishing in a three-way tie for second place in the league's North Division.
— Longtime Michigan State football coach George Perles (PUR’-lehs) has died at the age of 85. Perles coached the Spartans to a Rose Bowl victory in 1988 after helping the Pittsburgh Steelers win Super Bowls as a defensive assistant. He won Big Ten titles in 1987 and 1990 as coach and guided the school to seven bowls.
Nats bringing back Cabrera
UNDATED (AP) — The Washington Nationals have finalized their one-year contracts with infielders Asdrúbal (as-DROO’-bul) Cabrera and Eric Thames (thaymz).
Cabrera is guaranteed $2.5 million this year with a chance to earn more in performance bonuses. The 34-year-old Cabrera was a big part of Washington's surge to the World Series, hitting .323 with six homers and 40 RBIs in just 38 games.
Thames will make $4 million this year in a contract that includes a mutual option for 2021. The 33-year-old Thames had 25 homers and 61 RBIs with the Brewers last year.
In other MLB news:
— Indians president Chris Antonetti says he's more confident All-Star shortstop Francisco Lindor (lihn-DOHR’) will be in Cleveland's lineup to start the season after being shopped around this winter. Cleveland has him under contract through the 2021 season, but the Indians have been unsuccessful in their attempts to sign him to a long-term deal. Lindor batted. 284 with 32 home runs and 74 RBIs in 143 games last year.
— A person with knowledge of the deal says the Diamondbacks and reliever Héctor Rondón (rahn-DOHN’) have agreed to a one-year, $3 million contract. Rondón compiled a 3.71 ERA in 62 appearances for the Astros last year.
— A person familiar with the deal says Robinson Chirinos (chih-REE’-nohs) and the Rangers are close to reuniting on a $6.5 million contract, pending a physical. Chirinos spent last season with the AL West-rival Astros, batting .238 with 17 home runs and 58 RBIs in 114 games.
— Brewers manager Craig Counsell has received a three-year contract extension through the 2023 season. Counsell just led the Brewers to consecutive postseason appearances for the second time in team history and first since 1981 and '82. He was hired to replace Ron Roenicke (REHN’-ih-kee) a month into the 2015 season and is the longest-tenured manager in the National League.
— The Nationals will be at the New York Mets and Cleveland will host Detroit on March 26 in the first two games of Major League Baseball's earliest opening day other than international games. All 30 teams could be playing on opening day for the first time since 1968. A full slate was scheduled in 2018 but two games were postponed because of bad weather. The 2020 regular season is set to end Sept. 27. That puts the World Series on track for Oct. 20-28.
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