Pacers win in Oladipo’s return
INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Victor Oladipo (oh-lah-DEE’-poh) provided a big basket in his return to the Indiana Pacers.
Oladipo's only 3-pointer tied the score with 10 seconds left in regulation before the Pacers won for the eighth time in 10 games, 115-106. He had nine points in his first game back since suffering a season-ending knee injury last January.
Malcolm Brogdon scored seven of his 15 points in overtime and finished with eight rebounds and nine assists. T.J. Warren had a team-high 25 points for Indiana.
Lakers returned to practice...Bryant’s widow issues statement
UNDATED (AP) — The Los Angeles Lakers returned to practice Wednesday while they continue to grieve for Kobe Bryant. The Lakers held a light shooting workout as they resumed basketball activities after the death of Bryant, his daughter Gianna, and seven others in a helicopter crash.
Head coach Frank Vogel was the only person to speak to the media following the working, saying the Lakers “are all deeply, deeply saddened by this tragedy.”
Vanessa Bryant made her first public comment Wednesday since the helicopter crash that killed her husband and their daughter, Gianna. Vanessa Bryant wrote: “Thank you for all the prayers. We definitely need them. We are completely devastated by the sudden loss of my adoring husband, Kobe — the amazing father of our children; and my beautiful, sweet Gianna — a loving, thoughtful, and wonderful daughter, and amazing sister to Natalia, Bianka, and Capri. We are also devastated for the families who lost their loved ones on Sunday, and we share in their grief intimately.”
She also announced the formation of a fund to help support the other families that were affected by the crash.
Chiefs in relatively good health
UNDATED (AP) — The Kansas City Chiefs had everyone on the field Wednesday for their first significant practice of Super Bowl week as they went without helmets or pads during the 90-minute workout.
The only injury concerns involve defensive tackle Chris Jones and tight end Travis Kelce (KEHL’-see), although head coach Andy Reid says Kelce is fine and Jones is “good to go.” Kelce has been dealing with knee soreness during the postseason, and Jones is bothered by a calf strain.
In other news coming out of Super Bowl week:
— Commissioner Roger Goodell used part of his Super Bowl news conference to note the league needs change to its minority hiring policy, saying, “we are not where we want to be on this level.” Though the league requires teams to interview minority candidates, only two African-Americans have been hired for 19 open head coaching spots over the past three years. The league has only two minority general managers among the 32 teams.
— Florida and federal law enforcement agencies preparing for Sunday’s game in Miami say they are ready for anything, including a detonated bomb or massive food poisoning. But they say they haven't identified any threats but added that they are well prepared. A Homeland Security official says, “It’s all hands on deck.”
T25 MEN’S BASKETBALL SCHEDULE
Dayton ekes by Duquesne
UNDATED (AP) — Seventh-ranked Dayton has continued its best start in the history of its men’s basketball program.
Obi Toppin had 22 points and 10 rebounds to help the Flyers hold off Duquesne, 73-69 in Pittsburgh. Dayton led by as many as 19 points in the second half, but the Dukes used a 15-2 run to close the gap before the Flyers improved to 19-2 overall and 8-0 in the Atlantic 10.
Jalen Crutcher had 18 points and was 4 for 6 from beyond the 3-point arc for Dayton.
In other top-25 men’s basketball finals:
— Myles Powell finished with 24 points despite shooting 7-for-21 from the field Seton Hall’s 10th consecutive win, 64-57 versus DePaul. Jared Rhoden added 14 points and 11 rebounds for the 10th-ranked Pirates, who rallied from a nine-point, second-half deficit and improved to 16-4.
— Tyrese Maxey scored 10 of his 17 points in the second half, and No. 13 Kentucky used a 23-12 run to rally past Vanderbilt for a 71-62. The Wildcats trailed 40-30 early in the second half before handing the Commodores their 25th consecutive SEC regular-season loss.
— Cassius Winston contributed 18 points and Xavier Tillman had 12 points, eight rebounds and four assists to lead No. 14 Michigan State’s 79-50 romp over Northwestern. Foster Loyer scored 12 points and matched a career high with four 3-pointers to help the Spartans move to 8-2 in the Big Ten.
— Caleb Mills provided 18 points and Quentin Grimes added 15 to help No. 21 Houston earn a 69-59 victory against East Carolina.
— LSU earned its ninth straight win as Emmitt Williams had 23 points and 11 rebounds to lead the 22nd-rated Tigers past Alabama, 90-76.
Astros, Baker reach agreement
UNDATED (AP) — Dusty Baker is about to become the oldest manager in the majors.
A person with knowledge of the negotiations tells The Associated Press that the 70-year-old Baker and the Astros have worked out a contract. He takes over from AJ Hinch, who was fired Jan. 13 just an hour after he was suspended for the season by Major League Baseball for his role in Houston’s sign-stealing scandal.
The former Braves and Dodgers slugger has previously managed the Giants, Cubs, Reds and Nationals, winning division titles with each club. He led the 2002 Giants to the National League pennant, one year before guiding the Cubs within one victory of the World Series.
Baker has won 1,863 games over his 22-year managerial career.
Elsewhere in the majors:
— Reliever Greg Holland is back with the Royals after accepting to a minor league contract. Holland was 1-2 with a 4.54 ERA last year in 40 relief appearances with the Arizona Diamondbacks, who released him on Aug. 9. The three-time All-Star pitched for the Royals from 2010-15, helping them win consecutive AL pennants in his final two seasons.
— All-Star third baseman Kris Bryant has lost his service-time grievance against the Chicago Cubs. Two people with direct knowledge of the situation confirmed the decision to The Associated Press. Bryant argued he was held in the minors in a deliberate effort to delay his free-agent eligibility.
Sabres lose ullmark
BUFFALO, N.Y. (AP) — Buffalo Sabres starting netminder Linus Ullmark is expected to miss three to four weeks after injuring his right leg during Tuesday’s 5-2 loss to Ottawa.
Ullmark's left skate slipped out from under him, and he fell back with his right leg bent under him.
Jonas Johansson was promoted by the Sabres from their AHL affiliate at Rochester to serve as Carter Hutton’s backup.
TRACK-INDOOR WORLDS POSTPONED
Indoor world athletics championships postponed over virus
LONDON (AP) — The indoor world athletics championships in Nanjing, China, have been postponed for a year because of the dangerous virus outbreak in the country.
Nanjing is located about 330 miles from Wuhan, where the virus emerged.
World Athletics said in a statement that the event will now be held in March 2021 instead of March 13-15 this year.
Nadal loses to Thiem
MELBOURNE, Australia (AP) — The men’s and women’s semifinals are on tap at the Australian Open after men’s top seed Rafael Nadal (nah-DAHL’) was ousted by No. 5 Dominic Thiem (teem) during the previous day’s schedule.
The men’s semifinal match has second seed Novak Djokovic (JOH’-koh-vihch) against No. 3 Roger Federer and will conclude the day’s matches.
The schedule begins with top-ranked Ash Barty against American and 14th seed Sofia Kenin before fourth seed Simona Halep (HA’-lehp) hits the court against Garbine Muguruza (gahr-BEEN’ moo-gah-ROO’-thah).