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NBA-KOBE BRYANT KILLED
Bryant, daughter die in helicopter crash
UNDATED (AP) — The basketball community is mourning the death of NBA legend Kobe Bryant at age 41
The former Lakers guard, his 13-year-old daughter and seven others are dead after their helicopter went down Sunday morning about 30 miles northwest of downtown Los Angeles. Authorities said that nine people were aboard the helicopter and presumed dead, after earlier putting the death toll at five. A person familiar with the situation told The Associated Press that Bryant was among the victims, while another person with knowledge of the matter says his daughter, Gianna, also was killed.
Bryant won five NBA titles during a 20-year playing career spent entirely with the Lakers. He retired in 2016 as the league’s No. 3 all-time scorer and remained there until Lakers forward LeBron James passed him on Saturday.
Bryant was the league MVP in 2008, captured two scoring titles and earned 12 selections to the NBA’s All-Defensive teams.
Reaction to the death of Bryant was swift and numerous. Michael Jordan gave a statement commending Bryant for his fierce competitive streak and called him “one of the greats of the game.” Larry Bird issued a statement saying Bryant was not only an icon in the sports arena, he was a man of the world and touched so many lives and communities in the most positive ways. Former President Barack Obama used Twitter to call Bryant “a legend on the court and just getting started in what would have been just as meaningful a second act.”
NBA teams paid tribute to Bryant in several ways. The Nuggets held a moment of silence before tip-off against the visiting Rockets, with fans chanting, "Kobe! Kobe! Kobe!" right after. The Raptors and Spurs each allowed the 24-second clock to run out on purpose during their first possessions, in recognition of Bryant’s No. 24.
The Grizzlies won the opening tip against Phoenix and immediately took a 24-second clock violation. When the Suns took possession, they stayed in the backcourt for an 8-second violation — the 24 and 8 representing Bryant’s two numbers during his NBA career. The Trail Blazers and Pacers did the same in their game.
And Mavericks owner Mark Cuban says his team is retiring the No. 24 in honor of Bryant, saying his legacy transcends basketball.
Jokic helps Nuggets beat Rockets 117-110 on somber day
UNDATED (AP) — It was a very somber day around the NBA following the death of Kobe Bryant, but the schedule continued.
In Denver, Nikola Jokic (nee-KOH’-lah YOH’-kihch) turned in his ninth triple-double of the season by furnishing 24 points, 12 rebounds and 11 assists in the Nuggets’ 117-110 victory against the Rockets. Jerami Grant scored a season-high 25 points against Houston, which played without James Harden because of a thigh bruise.
Damian Lillard became the first Trail Blazers with 40-plus points in three straight games, finishing with 50 along with 13 assists in a 139-129 downing of the Pacers. CJ McCollum chipped in 28 points in his first game since missing three straight with an ankle injury.
Kawhi (kah-WY’) Leonard delivered 15 of his 31 points in a big third quarter and had 14 boards as the Clippers beat the Magic, 112-97. Landry Shamel and Montrezl (MAHN’-trehz) Harrell scored 19 points each for the Clippers and Lou Williams added 15.
Zion Williamson had 21 points and 11 rebounds in 27 minutes as the Pelicans thumped the Celtics, 123-108. Jrue Holiday had a team-high 25 points to help New Orleans win for the first time in three games since Williamson’s NBA debut.
Pascal Siakam (see-A’-kam) scored 35 points to lead the Raptors past the Spurs. 110-106. Kyle Lowry added 16 points to Toronto’s 16th straight victory. Marc Gasol scored eight straight points for the Raptors and finished with 12 rebounds.
Ja (jah) Morant contributed 14 of his 23 points in the fourth quarter of the Grizzlies’ 114-109 victory against the Suns. Jaren Jackson Jr. and Dillon Brooks finished with 20 points each for Memphis.
The Knicks earned a 110-97 victory against the Nets as Julius Randle had 22 points and 15 rebounds. Marcus Morris added 21 points to help the Knicks earn a split of the New York season series. Nets guard Kyrie Irving didn’t play because of what the team called personal reasons after learning of the death of friend and mentor, Kobe Bryant.
Trae Young poured in 45 points and had 14 assists in guiding the Hawks past the Wizards, 152-133. Young wore a No. 8 jersey to acknowledge Bryant during the first few seconds of the game and dressed up his shoes with a heartfelt tribute as well.
T25 MEN’S BASKETBALL-SCHEDULE
Maryland pulls off comeback win at Indiana
UNDATED (AP) — San Diego State remains the lone unbeaten team in men’s Division One basketball.
Malachi Flynn provided 21 points and the fourth-ranked Aztecs improved to 21-0 by holding off UNLV, 71-67. Trey Pulliam scored a career-high 18 points for San Diego State, which broke the school record for best start in the program’s 99 seasons.
The Aztecs went on a 15-7 run to lead 55-47 with 4:54 left.
In other top-25 games:
— Cassius Winston had 18 points and eight assists to help 11th-ranked Michigan State dump Minnesota, 70-52. Xavier Tillman added 17 points and 10 rebounds for the Spartans, who bounced back from a loss at Indiana three days ago and kept their share of the Big Ten lead.
— Chris Duarte had 24 points as No. 12 Oregon won its 12th consecutive home game by ripping UCLA, 96-75. Payton Pritchard had 19 points and six assists for the Ducks, while teammate Will Richardson added 16 points.
— No. 17 Maryland closed on a 7-0 run in the final 85 seconds of a 77-76 triumph over Indiana. Jalen Smith grabbed 11 rebounds and capped his career-high, 29-point performance by nailing the go-ahead layup with 14 seconds remaining.
— DeJon Jarreau had 12 points and six assists, Fabian White Jr. added 11 points, and No. 25 Houston defeated South Florida 68-49.
Kobe Bryant remembered as AFC beats NFC again in Pro Bowl
ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) — The Pro Bowl turned into a Kobe Bryant tribute. Players got together and faked fadeaway jumpers after big plays in an homage to Bryant. Green Bay receiver Davonte Adams pointed to the sky and flashed the number “24” on his fingers as an ode to Bryant’s jersey after a touchdown catch. The NFL’s annual all-star game also held a moment of silence for Bryant in the first half. The AFC beat the NFC 38-33 for a fourth consecutive victory in Orlando. The latest one might have been the last near Walt Disney World. The NFL is considering moving the game around.
Rafael beats Kyrgios
MELBOURNE, Australia (AP) — Rafael Nadal has beaten Nick Kyrgios in an entertaining 6-3, 3-6, 7-6 (6), 7-6 (4).
The No. 1-ranked Nadal’s victory over home-crowd favorite Kyrgios today moves him closer to a record-tying 20th Grand Slam title.
Earlier in the men’s bracket, Stan Wawrinka (vah-VRIHN’-kah) advanced to the Australian Open quarterfinals with a five-set victory over fourth-seeded Daniil Medvedev. The 2014 Australian Open champion dominated the fourth-set tiebreaker and then broke Medvedev in the opening game of the deciding set. He won 6-2, 2-6, 4-6, 7-6 (2), 6-2.
Dominic Thiem (teem) reached the quarterfinals for the first time with a 6-4, 6-4, 6-4 win against No. 10 Gael Monfils (gah-EHL’ mohn-FEES’).
The marquee match of the Day 8 schedule has top seed Rafael Nadal against Australian Nick Kyrgios (KEER’-ee-ohs). Also in the fourth round, it’s Alexander Zverev (ZVEHR’-ehv) versus Andrey Rublev.
In women’s tennis, Wimbledon champion Simona Halep (HA’-lehp) reached the quarterfinals of the Australian Open with a 6-4, 6-4 win over Elise Mertens.
The fourth-seeded Halep appeared to be cruising after winning the first set and going up a service break in the second, but Mertens broke back to level during the second set at 4-4. Halep responded by converting her fifth break-point chance in the next game and served out at love to clinch the match and earn a meeting with Anett Kantaveit.
The 28th-seeded Kontaveit advanced with a 6-7, 7-5, 7-5 victory against Iga Swiatek. Kontaveit wasted a 5-1 lead in the third set before reaching a Grand Slam quarterfinal for the first time.
Also advancing to the quarters was Garbine Muguruza (gahr-BEEN’ moo-gah-ROO’-thuh), who was a 6-3, 6-3 winner against ninth seed Kiki Bertens. Muguruza will play the winner of Angelique Kerber’s match against Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova.
Leishman rallies at Torrey Pines
SAN DIEGO (AP) — Marc Leishman sizzled on the front nine to turn a four-shot deficit into a victory in the PGA’s Farmers Insurance Open.
Leishman reeled off five birdies before the turn and closed with a 7-under 65 for a 15-under total. He surged ahead of third-round leader Jon Rahm, who was 4 over through five holes on Sunday.
Leishman kept a cushion with three big par saves down the tough stretch at Torrey Pines and closed with a 6-foot birdie putt that turned out to be the winner.
Rahm finished one shot back and two ahead of Rory McIlroy and Brandt Snedeker.
Sagstrom gets first LPGA win
BOCA RATON, Fla. (AP) — Madelene Sagstrom has earned her first LPGA Tour title by taking the Gainbridge LPGA at Boca Rio.
Sagstrom grabbed a share of the lead with a birdie on the par-3 17th and clinched the championship when Nasa Hataoka missed a 3-footer on the last hole.
Sagstrom finished with a 2-under 70 for a 17-under total.
NHL players in favor of 'international flavor' All-Star idea
ST. LOUIS (AP) — The NHL is in talks with players to bring what Commissioner Gary Bettman calls a "distinct international flavor” to next year’s All-Star Weekend in South Florida.
It would likely be a miniature 3-on-3 tournament with players representing the U.S., Canada and other top hockey countries.
An international All-Star Weekend would be something of a consolation prize for not holding a World Cup of Hockey next year. Uncertainty remains about whether the NHL will participate in the 2022 Olympics in Beijing.
It's not a replacement for the Olympics, but players are largely in favor of spicing up All-Star festivities and playing for more than divisional pride.
FIGURE SKATING-US CHAMPIONSHIPS
Chen equals Boitano with 4th straight US title
GREENSBORO, N.C. (AP) — Nathan Chen has become the first man since Brian Boitano to win four consecutive U.S. Figure Skating Championships.
The two-time world champion and 2014 Olympic silver medalist won the free skate by 37 points after a career-best performance in the short program on Saturday. The 20-year-old Chen has not lost a competition since struggling in the short program at the 2018 Olympics.
WORLD CUP-WOMEN'S SUPER-G
Shiffrin wins super-G
BANSKO, Bulgaria (AP) —Mikaela Shiffrin has won a women’s World Cup super-G for her second triumph in a speed event in three days.
The American and three-time overall champion beat Italy’s Marta Bassino by 0.29 seconds. It was Shiffrin’s first win in the discipline since clinching the super-G world title in February.