Celtics blow out Lakers, Rockets lose again
UNDATED (AP) — The Boston Celtics did a nice job shaking their losing streak, but the Houston Rockets’ struggles continue.
The Celtics had dropped three in a row before Jayson Tatum delivered 27 points in just 29 minutes of a 139-107 thrashing of the Western Conference-leading Lakers. Kemba Walker and Jaylen Brown each chipped in 20 points and Enes Kanter added 18 with 11 rebounds as Boston stayed a half-game behind the Atlantic Division-leading Raptors.
Walker had gone 0-28 in his career against LeBron James, second in NBA history only to Sherman Douglas' 0-30 head-to-head record against Michael Jordan.
JaVale McGee had 18 points for Los Angeles, which lost for only the second time in 12 games. James finished with 15 points, 13 assists and six boards in the loss.
The Rockets’ losing streak has reached a season-worst four games after they coughed up a 15-point lead in the fourth quarter of a 112-107 setback against the Thunder. Oklahoma City ripped off 13 straight points and outscored the Rockets, 41-20 in the final period.
Dennis Schroder (SHROO’-dur) delivered 17 of his 23 points after halftime to lead the Thunder to their 14th win in 19 games since falling to 11-14.
Oklahoma City’s Chris Paul scored 27 of his 28 points in the first half against his former team, while Danilo Gallinari finished with 25.
Rockets guard James Harden had 29 points but was a miserable 1-for-17 from 3-point range. Former Thunder guard Russell Westbrook had 32 points, 12 assists and 11 rebounds for Houston.
Checking out the other NBA action on Martin Luther King Jr. Day:
— Giannis Antetokounmpo (YAH’-nihs an-teh-toh-KOON’-poh) registered a triple-double of 28 points, 14 rebounds and 10 assists in just 31 minutes of the Bucks’ seventh straight win, 111-98 against the Bulls. Khris Middleton contributed 24 points as the Bucks improved to a league-best 39-6 at home, including 21-2 at home.
— Kendrick Nunn provided 25 points and James Johnson added 22 on 9-for-11 shooting as the Heat outlasted the Kings, 118-113 in overtime. Goran Dragic (DRAH’-gihch) scored 18 as the Heat improved their league-best home record to 19-1. Bam Adebayo (ad-ah-BAY’-oh) finished with 16 points and 11 rebounds for Miami, which is 7-0 in OT.
— Norman Powell furnished 17 of his 27 points in the final period as the Raptors hung on to beat the Hawks, 122-117. Fred VanVleet had 20 points, including three free throws with 14.2 left after Toronto blew most of a 21-point lead. Trae Young had 42 points and 15 assists for Atlanta, which pulled within 117-115.
— Michael Porter Jr. posted his second double-double in three games with 20 points and 14 rebounds in the Nuggets’ 107-100 downing of the Timberwolves. Jerami Grant scored 19 points and Nikola Jokic (nee-KOH’-loh YOH’-kihch) added 17 with 13 rebounds to help Denver win without Jamal Murray, Paul Millsap and Gary Harris Jr. The Timberwolves dropped their sixth in a row despite Karl-Anthony Towns’ game-high 28 points.
— Ben Simmons tied a career high with 34 points and chipped in 12 rebounds and 12 assists to guide the 76ers past the Nets, 117-111. Simmons shot 12 for 14 from the field in his career-best fifth straight game with 20 or more points and fourth triple-double of the season. Al Horford added 19 points for the 76ers, who won their fourth consecutive game.
— Utah won for the 17th time in 19 games as Donovan Mitchell scored 25 points in a 118-88 blowout over the Pacers. Rudy Gobert had 20 points and 14 rebounds to help the Jazz beat Indiana for the first time in four tries. Utah shot 54% from the field, scored 60 points in the paint and finished with a 53-30 advantage in rebounds.
— Damian Lillard set a Trail Blazers record with 61 points, including a career-best 11 3-pointers to lead their 129-124 overtime victory against the Warriors. It was Lillard’s seventh career game with at least 50 points, and his 3-point total set a Portland record. Hassan Whiteside added 17 points and 21 rebounds as the Blazers snapped a two-game skid despite trailing by 12 in the third quarter.
— The Grizzlies’ seven-game winning streak is over after the Pelicans set a franchise record with 21 3-pointers in a 126-116 victory at Memphis. Jrue Holiday matched his season high with 36 points in his return after a five-game absence caused by a strained elbow. Brandon Ingram scored 25 points and Nicolo Melli added 15 for New Orleans.
— The Spurs wasted a 20-point, second-half lead before Bryn Forbes nailed a go-ahead, 3-pointer with 2:33 left in a 120-118 triumph over the Suns. Forbes scored all 24 of his points on eight 3-pointers and Derrick White scored a season-high 25 points for San Antonio. Devin Booker poured in a game-high 37 points but missed a long 3 with about two seconds left that would have won it.
— Evan Fournier scored 26 points and the Magic finished 3-3 on their six-game road trip by slamming the Hornets, 106-83. Nikola Vucevic (nee-KOH’-lah VOO’-seh-vihch) had 24 points and 10 rebounds for Orlando, which shot 14 of 28 from 3-point range. Malik Monk scored 20 points and P.J. Washington had 19 in Charlotte’s seventh consecutive loss.
— The Wizards ended a three-game skid as Bradley Beal scored 29 points and Ian Mahinmi added 21 in their 106-100 decision over the Pistons. There were 10 lead changes before Washington scored nine straight to take a 95-87 lead with 7:06 remaining. Andre Drummond’s 18 points and 16 rebounds didn’t stop Detroit from losing in Washington for the 10th straight time.
— The Knicks picked up a 106-86 win at Cleveland as Marcus Morris Sr. and Julius Randle each scored 19 points. New York trailed by one before outscoring Cleveland, 30-14 in the third quarter. The Knicks won for just the second time in 10 games and dealt the Cavaliers their fifth consecutive loss.
Parsons’ attorneys say his injuries could threaten his career
ATLANTA (AP) — Chandler Parsons' attorneys say the Atlanta Hawks' forward suffered career-threatening injuries in a car wreck last week.
The attorneys say the injuries suffered in Wednesday's accident include a traumatic brain injury, disc herniation and a torn labrum.
Parsons was leaving practice when hit by a driver the attorneys say was charged with driving under the influence.
Baylor takes top spot
UNDATED (AP) — Baylor has become the seventh team to sit atop The Associated Press men’s basketball poll since November, already matching a single-season record for the most No. 1 teams since the ranking began in the 1948-49 season.
The Bears picked up 33 of 65 first-place votes to climb over No. 2 Gonzaga, which came away with 31 first-place votes. The two teams are separated by just three points.
Kansas, unbeaten San Diego State and Florida State round out the top five. They replace Duke, Auburn and Butler, each of which lost twice last week.
Sixth-ranked Louisville is followed by Dayton, the Blue Devils, Villanova and Seton Hall. The Cardinals, Flyers, Wildcats and Pirates all climbed at least five spots, with Seton Hall moving up eight notches.
T25 MEN’S BASKETBALL
Baylor gets past Oklahoma
UNDATED (AP) — Top-ranked Baylor eked out a victory in its first game since becoming the top team in The Associated Press men’s basketball poll.
The Bears improved to 16-1 and ran their winning streak to 15 games by holding off Oklahoma, 61-57. Baylor came away with the victory after Austin Reaves missed a potential go-ahead 3-pointer with 6 seconds left.
MaCio Teague had 16 points for the Bears, who are off to their first 6-0 start in conference play since opening their 1948 Southwest Conference slate with 10 straight wins.
In Monday’s other top-25 game:
— No. 14 West Virginia bounced back from Saturday’s lopsided loss at Kansas State by reeling off a 20-0 run that gave the Mountaineers a 43-15 lead in a 97-59 trouncing of Texas. Oscar Tshiebwe (SHEEB’-way) had 13 points and 11 rebounds in the rout, while Derek Culver added 13 points. Jase Febres (jays FEH’-brehs) had a game-high 18 points for the Longhorns, who were held to 36% shooting for the game.
Avs double up Wings, Panthers win in thrilling finish
UNDATED (AP) — The Colorado Avalanche have reeled off three straight wins since a four-game skid dropped them farther behind the St. Louis Blues in the NHL’s Central Division race.
Nazem Kadri (NA’-zehm KA’-dree) and Nathan MacKinnon scored 1:54 apart early in the second period to put the Avs ahead to stay in a 6-3 win against the struggling Red Wings. Kadri tied it with a power-play goal 62 seconds into the period.
Kadri and MacKinnon also tallied in Colorado’s four-goal third period. MacKinnon heads into the All-Star break with 30 goals.
The Avalanche went 3-0-2 on their five-game homestand and are six points behind the division-leading Blues.
The Red Wings dropped their fifth in a row to fall to 5-22-3 in their last 30 games.
In the NHL’s other game of the day, the Panthers earned their fifth win in a row by downing the Wild, 5-4 on Noel Acciari’s (ah-CHAH’-reez) goal with 5.6 seconds left in the third period. Keith Yandle had a goal and three assists in Florida’s first regulation win ever at Minnesota in 12 attempts. Aleksander Barkov added a goal and an assist to back Sergei Bobrovsky (boh-BRAHF’-skee), who stopped 29 shots in winning his second straight start since missing two games with a lower-body injury.
Day 2 at Melbourne
MELBOURNE, Australia (AP) — Maria Sharapova has lost in the first round at three consecutive Grand Slam tournaments for the first time in her career. The 32-year-old owner of five major titles bowed out quickly at the Australian Open thanks to some sloppy play against Donna Vekic. Sharapova once was ranked No. 1 but she now will tumble outside of the top 350.
In other action:
— Rafael Nadal had a 6-2, 6-3, 6-0 win over Hugo Dellien in his first competitive match back on Rod Laver Arena since losing the Australian Open final to Novak Djokovic last year. The top-ranked Nadal is chasing his 20th major singles title, aiming to equal Roger Federer's men's record. He's also aiming to complete a collection by winning each of the four Grand Slam titles at least twice. He won the Australian title in 2009 and has lost four finals since then at Melbourne Park.
— Two-time major winner Simona Halep took a tumble and then saved three set points in the first set before recovering to fend off Jennifer Brady 7-6 (5), 6-1 in the first round. Halep has had four first-round exits at Melbourne Park, but not since she reached the final here in 2018 — having saved match points in third round and the semifinals.
— Three-time major winner Angelique Kerber advanced through the first round in straight sets, the 2016 Australian Open champion beating Elisabetta Cocciaretto 6-2, 6-2 to close the night session on Rod Laver Arena.
— Second-seeded Karolina Pliskova clinched a 6-1, 7-5 win with a late service break against Kristina Mladenovic in the opening match on at Rod Laver Arena on Day 2 of the Australian Open. Pliskova lost to eventual champion Naomi Osaka in the semifinals in Melbourne last year.
— Former semifinalist Johanna Konta is out of the Australian Open after losing her first-round match to Ons Jabeur 6-4, 6-2.
— Nick Kyrgios beat Lorenzo Sonego 6-2, 7-6 (3), 7-6 (1) in his first-round match at Melbourne Arena, which was delayed for a couple of minutes in the second set when the lights went out.
— A back injury forced 2008 Australian Open runner-up Jo-Wilfried Tsonga to retire from his first-round match against Alexei Popyrin after falling behind two sets to one. The 34-year-old Frenchman won the first set in a tiebreaker before losing the next two sets 6-2, 6-1, calling for a trainer and then notifying the chair umpire that he could not continue.
— Garbiñe Muguruza is a two-time Grand Slam title winner but she sure looked on the way to a third consecutive first-round exit at a major when she dropped the opening set at love against American qualifier Shelby Rogers at the Australian Open. And then Muguruza turned everything around in remarkable fashion, grabbing 12 of the last 13 games to beat Rogers 0-6, 6-1, 6-0.
— Cici Bellis has won a Grand Slam match for the first time in nearly three years after having a series of operations. The 20-year-old Californian, once ranked as high as 35th, moved into the second round of the Australian Open by beating Tatjana Maria of Germany 6-0, 6-2.
Braves ink King Felix
UNDATED (AP) — Felix Hernandez has been given a chance to continue his major league career.
The Atlanta Braves have signed the six All-Star selection and the 2010 AL Cy Young Award winner to a minor league contract with an invitation to big league camp. Hernandez is coming off his worst major league season, going 1-8 with a 6.40 ERA in 15 starts for the Mariners.
The right-hander would get a $1 million, one-year contract if added to Atlanta's 40-man roster.