Blues win 7-6 thriller over Sharks, snap three-game losing streak

SAN JOSE, Calif. — Marco Scandella scored his second goal of the game to break a tie in the third period and St. Louis rallied to beat the San Jose Sharks 7-6 Saturday night after Blues starting goalie Jordan Binnington lost his cool when getting pulled.

Binnington went after three Sharks when he was replaced after allowing his fourth goal on 19 shots. Ville Husso stopped 19 of 21 shots he faced in relief and the Blues got the win after tying the game on Zach Sanford’s goal late in the second and then three more in the first 7:14 of a back-and-forth third period.

Mackenzie MacEachern scored a short-handed goal, Ryan O’Reilly added another and Scandella took a pass from Oskar Sundqvist to make it 7-6 midway through the third.

Evander Kane and Timo Meier each scored twice and Logan Couture and Kevin Labanc added goals in the Sharks’ first game back after having one game postponed because of Tomas Hertl’s positive test for the coronavirus. Devan Dubnyk allowed seven goals on 30 shots.

Sammy Blais and Brayden Schenn also scored for the Blues, who had lost four of five.

Despite the barrage of goals, the most memorable moment of the game might have come when Binnington lost his composure after allowing Kane’s second goal of the game.

While skating off the ice, Binnington went after three different Sharks players. He shoved Radim Simek by the bench, put his stick in Erik Karlsson’s face near center ice and then got into it with Dubnyk before finally leaving the ice.

Husso came on and stopped 13 shots the rest of the second period to keep St. Louis in the game. The Blues tied it late in the second when Sanford skated in from behind the net and beat Dubnyk for their 12th goal in five second periods against San Jose this season.

LUCKY START

The Sharks got on the board just 17 seconds into the game when Meier threw a puck toward the net that hit defenseman Torey Krug and bounced past Binnington for a goal.

Each team added another goal in the first with Scandella’s point shot tying the game at 1 before Kane knocked a rebound into an open net on the power play to restore the one-goal lead for San Jose.

HEALTH REPORT

The Sharks got three key players back in the lineup with defenseman Karlsson returning after missing four games with a groin injury, defenseman Simek returning after missing four games with an upper-body injury and forward Dylan Gambrell back after missing one game in concussion protocol.

Australian Nathan Walker was in the lineup for the Blues after a week in COVID-19 quarantine. Forward Vladimir Tarasenko (upper body) is practicing for St. Louis and could return for the first time this season on the this trip.

Blues defenseman Jacob de la Rose left the game in the first period with a lower body injury.

UP NEXT

Blues: Visit Anaheim on Monday night.

Sharks: Host Colorado on Monday night.

By |2021-02-28T01:32:21-05:00February 28th, 2021|News|

Magic can't corral Jazz's well-rounded attack, fall 124-109

ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) — Donovan Mitchell scored 31 points and Joe Ingles filled in well again at point guard in place of Mike Conley to help the Utah Jazz beat the Orlando Magic 124-109 on Saturday night.

Utah bounced back from a loss a night earlier in Miami, improving to 6-1 following a defeat. The NBA-leading Jazz have lost consecutive games just once all season and not since Jan. 6 when they were 4-4.

“We’re not allowed to be tired, for one thing,” said Utah coach Quin Snyder, whose team improved to 5-1 this season on the second night of a back-to-backs.

Mitchell shook off a scoreless first quarter and scored 25 of his 31 points in the second half. He 15 points in the third quarter when Utah pushed a four-point halftime lead out to as much as 14. The Jazz improved to 25-0 when leading after three periods and won by double digits for an NBA-best 23rd time this season.

“I had a few lapses in the first half and a few bad shots and then it was like, `OK, this is what I see,’” said Mitchell, who made 9 of 13 shots after halftime. “At the end of the day, I’ve seen every coverage and it’s just about adjusting.”

Ingles had 17 points, six assists and three 3-pointers. The Jazz are 7-0 this season when he starts at point guard in place of Conley, who was out with right hamstring injury management. That’s the same injury that kept the point guard out from Feb. 2-12, a six-game stretch where Utah won each game with Ingles sharing ball-handling duties with Mitchell.

“I try to play the same game, but I realize I’m going to have the ball more in certain situations,” said Ingles, who had four assists to center Rudy Gobert in the first half. “I’m just making sure I’m getting guys involved and getting them in the right spots.”

Gobert had 12 points and 16 rebounds. Jordan Clarkson, the NBA’s top-scoring reserve, had 18 points for Utah, which shot 52.9% and made 17 of 45 3-pointers.

Magic All-Star center Nikola Vucevic scored 34 points, but missed out on his 24th double-double by two rebounds. Orlando was pounded 52-37 on the glass and surrendered 24 second-chance points to the Jazz.

“That was the key tonight, giving up 24 against a team that’s already the best team offensively right now in the NBA,” Vucevic said.

Evan Fournier (16 points) and Terrence Ross (10 points) combined to shoot just 11 of 36 from the floor and made only 1 of 13 from 3-point range.

INEXPERIENCED CREW

Veteran referee Bill Kennedy was forced to leave the game with 2:48 remaining in the first half because of an apparent back injury, leaving an inexperienced crew on the floor. Natalie Sago, one of five female referees in the NBA, is in her second season as a full-time referee, while Nate Green is in his first NBA season after four years in the G League. Kennedy did not return in the second half.

TIP INS

Jazz: Utah, which came in to the game averaging 42.7 3-point shot attempts a game, got up 20 shots from beyond the arc in the game’s first 17 minutes. … The Jazz missed their first six free throw attempts of the game.

Magic: James Ennis III did not play because of a sore calf, allowing Dwayne Bacon to start for a fourth time. … If the Magic are going to make the playoffs a third straight year, they are going to have to do it against the NBA’s toughest remaining schedule. Twenty of their 36 games after the All-Star break will be on the road and there are nine back-to-backs. … Mo Bamba (11 points) had the highlight of the night when he caught an off-target alley-oop pass with his left hand and dunked.

UP NEXT

Jazz: At New Orleans on Monday night.

Magic: Host Dallas on Monday night.

By |2021-02-27T23:59:23-05:00February 27th, 2021|News|

Lightning shutout Stars in first Stanley Cup rematch

TAMPA, Fla. (AP) — Andrei Vasilevskiy made 20 saves for his second straight shutout and 23rd overall and the defending champion Tampa Bay Lightning beat the Dallas Stars 5-0 on Saturday night in the first Stanley Cup rematch of the season.

The teams will meet again Tuesday night in Dallas. They had four previous scheduled meetings season postponed because of COVID protocols and weather issues in Dallas.

Steven Stamkos and Anthony Cirelli each had a goal and an assist for Tampa Bay, and Ondrej Palat, Brayden Point and Pat Maroon also scored for Tampa Bay. The Lightning scored two power-play goals and one short-handed to extend their winning streak to four games.

“We did a lot of good things and tt was just a good team effort,’’ Lightning coach Jon Cooper said. “Special teams were outstanding with the power play going two-for-two, so it was just one of those games where we played well and a lot of things went right for us.’’

Dallas’ Anton Khudobin made 12 saves before being replaced in the third period by Jake Oettinger, who stopped all five shots he faced.

“I think overall we’re just not in sync enough at times,’’ Dallas forward Andrew Cogliano said. “It seems like every game it’s just something different and we’re not putting it together.’’

Palat struck three seconds into Tampa Bay’s first power-play chance, stealing the puck from Jason Dickinson down low and roofing a shot over Khudobin for his seventh of the season and fifth on the power play — which ties his single-season high.

Tampa Bay scored three goals in the second period.

Cirelli, back after missing two weeks, took a pass from Stamkos inside the Dallas blue line and raced in for a breakaway and pulled the puck to his backhand before lifting it over Khudobin for his seventh career short-handed goal at 4:06.

“After missing a few games I just wanted to get in and get my feet moving,’’ Cirelli said. “But it’s a little booster whenever you are able to get one in there. Luckily, I made a move and it went in for me tonight.”

Point made it 3-0 when he raced up the ice and cut to his right as he entered the Dallas zone and put the puck on the toe of his stick and wristed a shot back across his body to the far post at 8:17.

Maroon tapped in a pass from Tyler Johnson on a backdoor play at 15:12 for Tampa Bay’s second power-play goal of the game.

Stamkos scored his 10th of the season at 1:07 of the third, one-timing a backhand pass from Cirelli that made it 5-0 and ended the night for Khudobin.

“Tonight 5-on-5 for two periods we were very happy with the way we were playing,” Dallas head coach Rick Bowness said. “Special teams were a complete disaster. The power play sucked the life right out of the team. We had six power plays and we had eight forwards, all of our top guys, without a shot on net. And then that fifth goal. That fifth goal hurt us a lot.’’

RADULOV CLOSE

Dallas RW Alexander Radulov missed his eighth consecutive game with an undisclosed lower-body injury. Coach Rick Bowness said Radulov has been doing some light skating on his own and could return at some point during a six-game homestand that opens on Tuesday against Tampa Bay.

LINEUP SHUFFLE

Dallas C Roope Hintz returned after missing two games with a lower body injury. The Stars also called up C Rhett Gardner from the taxi squad, but he was scratched.

By |2021-02-27T23:35:14-05:00February 27th, 2021|News|

Pacers battle but fall to Knicks 110-107

NEW YORK — Julius Randle scored 28 points and grabbed 10 rebounds to lift the New York Knicks back to .500 with a 110-107 win over the Indiana Pacers on Saturday night.

RJ Barrett added 24 for New York, which improved to 17-17 with its sixth win in its last 10 games. Derrick Rose had 17 points and Immanuel Quickley 10 as the Knicks reached the .500 mark for the first time since they were 8-8 on Jan. 21.

Doug McDermott had 20 points for Indiana, which fell to 15-17 with its third straight loss. T.J. McConnell finished with 17, Domantas Sabonis had 15 points, seven rebounds, and nine assists, Justin Holiday had 13 points and Myles Turner 11.

The third and final regular-season meeting between the Eastern Conference teams did not have the stakes that their iconic playoff series in the mid-1990s had, but that did not stop the franchises’ antecedents from playing a hard-nosed, possession-by-possession game that seemed familiar.

Indiana appeared to be the sharper team for much of the first half after coming off a nationally televised 118-112 loss in Boston on Friday night. But New York, which hadn’t played since routing Sacramento on Thursday night, took a 54-52 lead into halftime thanks to a 17-3 run over the final 4:38, capped by Rose’s buzzer-beating pull-up 3.

During the spurt, New York forced Indiana into four missed shots and five turnovers prompting the 1,981 at Madison Square Garden to chant “Dee-fence!”

New York maintained its advantage for most of the third quarter, and began the fourth with a 81-78 lead. But Indiana outscored the Knicks 18-12 over the first seven minutes of the final quarter and held a 96-93 advantage when Sabonis drew a charge from Randle. On the ensuing possesion, Turner scored on a layup to push the lead to five.

It didn’t last as Barrett drilled a 3 and converted a three-point play to put the Knicks ahead 99-98. Following a timeout, Randle knocked down a 3 and Barrett converted a layup to extend the Knicks’ lead to 104-98. Indiana responded with a layup by McConnell and a 3 by Edmond Sumner to close within one at 104-103.

That was as close as the Pacers would come as Nerlens Noel and Randle each made two free throws to push the lead to 108-103. Sabonis responded with a 3, but Knicks reserve guard Frank Ntiliknia made two free throws with 2.9 seconds left to seal the win.

TIP-INS

Pacers: A little more than a half-hour before the game was scheduled to start, Indiana announced guard Malcolm Brogdon would not play due to a sore right knee. He was replaced in the starting lineup by McConnell. Brogdon, who had played in every game this season before Saturday night’s loss, is averaging 21.3 points, 4.8 rebounds, and 6.4 assists in 35.9 minutes per game.

Knicks: Despite Randle’s suggestion after Thursday’s win over Sacramento that New York’s defense had slipped in its last two games, the Knicks entered Saturday night leading the league in fewest points per game with an average of 104.4. “You’re going to have slippage in different areas,” coach Tom Thibodeau said. “You’re not going to be able to work on everything every day, so you’re going to have to prioritize on the things you have to focus in on, and try to correct those things but it’s never-ending.”

UP NEXT

Pacers: At Philadelphia on Monday night.

Knicks: At Detroit on Sunday night.

By |2021-02-27T23:26:15-05:00February 27th, 2021|News|

Dumba scores in last second of OT, Wild top Kings 4-3

ST. PAUL, Minn. — Matt Dumba scored in the final second of overtime to lead the Minnesota Wild to a 4-3 win over the Los Angeles Kings on Saturday night.

With time running out, Minnesota’s Mats Zuccarello dug the puck out of a scrum on the side boardsd and slipped a pass to Dumba in the slot. The Wild defenseman made a move and flipped a wrist shot past Calvin Peterson with 0.3 seconds left on the clock.

Joel Eriksson Ek, Nico Sturm and Kirill Kaprizov also scored for the Wild. Kaapo Kahkonen made 25 saves as the Wild won their sixth straight.

Drew Doughty, Austin Wagner and Adrian Kempe scored for the Kings, who overcame a threee-goal deficit to force overtime. Peterson stopped 38 of 42 shots for Los Angeles.

After giving up three early goals in a 3-1 loss to Minnesota on Friday night, the Kings came out with much more energy and dominated the pace of play early, outshooting Minnesota 9-3 at the start.

But, just as they did on Friday, the Wild struck quickly to put Los Angeles in an early hole.

Eriksson Ek took advantage of a bit of luck to put the Wild on the board first at 14:17 of the first period. After entering the zone on a give-and-go, Kevin Fiala took a one-handed whack at the puck and tapped it toward the slot.

The puck bounced to Eriksson Ek, who chipped it puck over Peterson’s shoulder for his team-leading eighth goal of the season.

Three minutes later, the Wild doubled their lead on an impressive individual effort by center Nick Bjugstad. While holding off defenseman Tobias Bjornfot, Bjugstad controlled the puck as he circled behind the net.

Bjugstad then fired a backhand pass across the face of the goal, finding Sturm alone at the far post for an easy tap-in.

Kaprizov made it 3-0 early in the second period when he took advantage of another fortunate bounce for the Wild. Victor Rask broke his stick on a slap shot, but the puck trickled right to Kaprizov in the slot, and he fired it home for his sixth of the year.

Doughty got Los Angeles on the board less than two minutes later with a power-play goal. Kempe took a blast from the left point that Kahkonen kicked out to his right, but Doughty flicked the rebound into the open net for his fifth of the year.

Wagner drew the Kings closer with an unassisted goal midway through the second. He blocked a shot near the blue line and had a clean breakaway, which he converted with a wrist shot off Kahkonen’s blocker, cutting Minnesota’s lead to 3-2.

Kempe tied the game when he scored from the point with 2:45 to play in the third. It came on the Kings’ third consecutive power play of the third period.

UP NEXT

After two weeks on the road, the Kings return to Los Angeles for a game against the Coyotes on Wednesday.

The Wild head back out on the road for the first of two games at Vegas on Monday.

By |2021-02-27T23:18:40-05:00February 27th, 2021|News|

Mavs end Nets' 8-game run as Porzingis returns, Irving sits

NEW YORK (AP) – Luka Doncic scored 27 points, Kristaps Porzingis added 18 in his return from injury and the Dallas Mavericks snapped the Brooklyn Nets’ eight-game winning streak with a 115-98 victory Saturday night.

James Harden had 29 points for the Nets, but only four after halftime while playing as Brooklyn’s solo superstar. Kevin Durant missed his seventh straight game with a left hamstring strain and Kyrie Irving rested his surgically repaired right shoulder.

That took more than 56 points per game away from the NBA’s highest-scoring team and Brooklyn couldn’t keep up with a Dallas club that shot 52% from the field.

Porzingis missed last three games with lower back tightness and shook off his rust after halftime to help Dallas break open the game.

Leading by four at halftime, the Mavericks came out for the third quarter focused on throwing the ball inside to the 7-foot-3 Latvian, who has 7 inches on any starter in the Nets’ small-ball starting lineup. He responded with 10 points in the quarter, including a three-point play that capped an 11-2 spurt and pushed Dallas’ lead to 85-74.

It became 91-76 when Dorian Finney-Smith blocked Harden’s shot to lead to Tim Hardaway Jr.’s basket. Dallas put it away with 12 straight points early in the fourth, making it 106-84 and soon after Harden was removed for good.

Jalen Brunson scored 14 points for the Mavericks, who split games against the East’s top teams after losing at Philadelphia on Thursday, when they committed a season-high 22 turnovers. They had only nine Saturday.

Doncic and Harden each scored 15 points in the first quarter, but the Mavs gave more help to their point guard and led 38-26 after shooting 61%. Brooklyn cut it to 68-64 at halftime, when Harden had 25.

TIP-INS

Mavericks: Doncic turns 22 on Sunday. He had seven assists and six rebounds. … Hardaway had 13 points.

Nets: It was a historically late night in Brooklyn for the NBA’s Saturday night game of the week. The Nets said that going back 30 years – as far as Elias has tracked game time records – it was the first time they tipped off a home game at 8:30 p.m. EST or later. … Brooklyn had won nine straight against West teams.

IRVING’S INJURY

Coach Steve Nash said he didn’t believe Irving’s injury was serious, calling it a maintenance issue. It’s the second game Irving has sat out to rest the shoulder, which limited him to 20 games last season.

“I would expect him to play next game and if not, I don’t think this is a thing that will linger into the All-Star break,” Nash said.

NASH AND NOWITZKI

Nash and Dirk Nowitzki, former Mavericks stars who are close friends, were supposed to attend the BNP Paribas Open tennis tournament in Indian Wells, California, together with their families last March. Nash was already in California because Nowitzki canceled his trip and the tournament became the first major sports event called off in the U.S. because of coronavirus concerns.

“You could kind of sense it coming and it was one of those things I think where we all had that kind of disbelief that this was actually going to snowball into this, but here we are a year later and it’s more real than ever,” Nash said. “So tough, tough time for everyone. We’ve lost a lot of people and we’re not through this thing in the slightest yet.”

UP NEXT

Mavericks: Visit Orlando on Monday night.

Nets: Visit San Antonio, where they have lost 17 straight games, on Monday night.

By |2021-02-27T23:18:42-05:00February 27th, 2021|News|

DeMar DeRozan has 32 points, 11 assists in Spurs' victory

SAN ANTONIO (AP) – DeMar DeRozan had 32 points and 11 assists and the short-handed San Antonio Spurs held on to beat the New Orleans Pelicans 117-114 on Saturday night.

LaMarcus Aldridge added 21 points off the bench in his second game back after missing six games because of a sore right hip.

Brandon Ingram had 29 points and Zion Williamson added 23 points and 14 rebounds for New Orleans. The Pelicans have lost two straight and seven of 10.

DeRozan’s returned after missing a game because of his father’s death. It was needed boost for the Spurs, who played their first home game since Feb. 9 before embarking on what was supposed to be seven-game trip. San Antonio’s annual month-long excursion was shortened when the team had to postpone four games after multiple players contracted COVID-19 or encountered someone with the virus.

Rudy Gay, Keldon Johnson, Derrick White, Devin Vassell and Quinndary Weatherspoon all missed their sixth straight game while following the league’s mandate for COVID-19.

The Spurs leaned on DeRozan with two starters and two key reserves sidelined. The 12-year veteran responded with his fifth 30-point game and third in his last seven outings.

It marked the fifth time DeRozan has had at least 25 points and 10 assists since joining the Spurs in 2018. He had only one turnover in 36 minutes against the Pelicans.

Dejounte Murray added 18 points, and Lonnie Walker IV had 17 for San Antonio.

Eric Bledsoe had 19 points, and Lonzo Ball added 16 for New Orleans.

After trailing by as many as eight points in the opening quarter, the Spurs captured their initial lead at 33-30 with 21.6 seconds remaining in the first on Aldridge’s lone 3-pointer.

San Antonio finished 12 for 32 on 3-pointers.

TIP-INS

Pelicans: G JJ Redick missed the game with right hamstring tightness. Redick had nine points and seven rebounds in 26 minutes in Thursday’s 129-125 loss to Milwaukee. It is the first game Redick has missed due to injury, but he did not play in three games due to coach’s decision. . Adams played in his second consecutive game after missing two games with an ankle injury. He averaged 10.5 points and 10.5 rebounds in those two games.

Spurs: San Antonio coach Gregg Popovich said he is unsure when the five players sidelined by COVID-19 protocols will return, but he expects it to be a slow process. “They’re not all going to come back at the same time,” Popovich said. “Some may be back before the break, maybe some of them won’t, I just don’t know. But we won’t have a whole group before the break, for sure.” … Walker set a career high this season with 44 3-pointers in 27 games. He had 41 3-pointers in 61 games last season. . The Spurs have used seven tarting lineups this season, including a change to their starting unit in each of their past two games.

UP NEXT

Pelicans: Host Utah on Monday night.

Spurs: Host Brooklyn on Monday night.

By |2021-02-27T23:10:15-05:00February 27th, 2021|News|

Sexton, Garland help Cavaliers upset 76ers 112-109 in OT

PHILADELPHIA (AP) — Collin Sexton flashed three fingers on each hand as he walked off the court a winner and simply said “that’s game.”

And who saw that game coming for Cleveland?

Yes, the Cavaliers rebounded from a 10-game losing streak with wins against lowly Atlanta and Houston. But undermanned — and arguably outmatched — Sexton, Darius Garland and Isaac Okoro helped grind out an upset.

“You’re going to see these type of moments again,” Okoro said.

Sexton scored 28 points, Garland had 25 and the feisty Cavaliers beat the East-best Philadelphia 76ers 112-109 in overtime on Saturday night.

The Cavaliers earned their first road win since Jan. 7 at Memphis and No. 4 on the season. They got one against a Sixers team that built the best record in the Eastern Conference (22-12) on the strength of a 14-2 mark at home.

Make it 14-3.

“Any time you get a tough win like this, it validates what you’re capable of,” Cavs coach J.B. Bickerstaff said.

Okoro scored the first three points of OT and had 15 when he fouled out. The Cavs led by three and turned the ball over only for Ben Simmons to get whistled for an offensive foul. Garland hit a floater for a five-point lead and the 11-point underdog Cavaliers were on their way to their third straight win.

Joel Embiid had 42 points and 13 rebounds for Philadelphia. Simmons scored 24.

“That’s a win we’ve got to get,” Simmons said.

Sexton hit a 3 late in regulation that put the Cavs ahead 92-90, but Embiid answered with a tying dunk. The score went back-and-forth all quarter and the Cavs had a chance to win late. Sexton missed a long 3 coming out of a timeout and Matisse Thybulle grabbed the defensive rebound. Embiid missed a step-back 15-footer with one second left and the game went into OT tied 92-all.

Embiid, who seems good for one injury scare a game, sure enough came up limping late in the first quarter. He stayed in the game after a timeout and promptly passed out of a double team to Danny Green for a 3.

Embiid’s ability to draw fouls — he’s been accused of flopping — at an elite level continued against the Cavs. Embiid let out an “ahhh!” as he tangled with JaVale McGee and went to the line. McGee was whistled for three fouls in 1 minute that led to four made free throws by Embiid, and Jarrett Allen also had three fouls by halftime. Embiid was 11 of 12 from the line in the half; the Cavs just 10 of 13.

Sixers coach Doc Rivers yelled, “Wake up! Let’s go!” with the Sixers down 39-30. The Sixers needed time to snap out of their slumber.

”We were running our offense like it was a walkthrough,” Rivers said.

Embiid and Simmons carried the Sixers in the first half and combined to score 33 of their 47 points. The other three starters scored just seven points and the Cavs led 56-47 at the break.

The Cavaliers ran and ran after Sixers’ misses and scored 17 fast-break points in the half.

The Sixers shook off a 13-point hole and got rolling in the third, in large part because Embiid and Simmons had help from the bench. Mike Scott hit a 3 that pulled them within one. Shake Milton hit the floater that tied it at 65.

The Cavs pushed the pace and shut down every Sixer outside of Embiid and Simmons to get a win they hope will prove better days are ahead.

“Are we there yet? No, we’re not finished,” Bickerstaff said. “But we’ve got to continue to answer the bell when tested.”

TIP-INS

Cavaliers: Andre Drummond again sat out for “personal reasons” as the Cavs look into a trade. …. Matthew Dellavedova, still out because of the effects of a concussion, made the trip. He also recently had his appendix removed.

76ers: Tobias Harris, who averages 20.2 points, sat out with a bruised right knee. Furkan Korkmaz got the start. … Simmons reached 4,000 career points. … Embiid had his 16th 20-point, 10-rebound game of the season. … Seth Curry shot 1 of 13 and scored four points.

2-0

The Cavs also beat the 76ers 118-94 on Dec. 27, 2020.

UP NEXT

Cavaliers: Play Monday at Houston.

76ers: Host Indiana on Monday.

By |2021-02-27T23:06:01-05:00February 27th, 2021|News|

Jamal Murray, Nikola Jokic help Nuggets rout Thunder 126-96

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) – Jamal Murray continued his hot scoring with 26 points and Nikola Jokic had his eighth triple-double of the season to help the Denver Nuggets rout the Oklahoma City Thunder 126-96 on Saturday night.

Murray, averaging 30.1 points in his previous seven games, made 9 of 15 field goals and Denver shot 55%.

Jokic had 19 points, 11 rebounds and 13 assists. Michael Porter Jr. added 20 points and 10 rebounds, and Will Barton scored 15 points.

Darius Bazley had 22 points for the Thunder. Ty Jerome and Isaiah Roby added 15 each.

Denver, loser of four of its past six games and six of seven on the road, controlled this one from the outset in beating the Thunder for the third time in three tries this season.

Porter, who had an 18-10 double-double in a home loss to Washington on Thursday night, made all four of his 3-point shots and scored 14 points in the first quarter when the Nuggets led by as many as 23.

The Thunder’s second unit, led by Jerome and Roby, helped cut it to 47-36 midway through the second quarter. But the Nuggets ended the half on an 18-7 run, including 3-pointers by Porter and Murray, and held the Thunder to one basket in the final 3:45.

Jokic scored nine of his points in the third quarter when Denver pushed the lead beyond 30, which allowed Jokic, Murray and the other starters to take it easy the rest of the way.

TIP-INS

Nuggets: P.J. Dozier, who had missed 15 games with a right hamstring strain, scored nine points. . The Nuggets were again without Paul Millsap, JaMychal Green and Gary Harris, all nursing injuries. . This was the first of a four-game trip before the All-Star break. .

Thunder: The Thunder were 11 of 47 from 3-point range. . The game ended a four-game homestand. The Thunder do not play at home again until March 11, following the All-Star break.

UP NEXT

Nuggets: At Chicago on Monday night.

Thunder: At Dallas on Wednesday night.

By |2021-02-27T22:59:05-05:00February 27th, 2021|News|

No. 17 Kansas ends No. 2 Baylor's undefeated season with 71-58 upset win

LAWRENCE, Kan. — Kansas finally put a blemish on second-ranked Baylor’s perfect season.

David McCormack bruised his way to 20 points, Marcus Garrett added 14 on his senior night, and the No. 17 Jayhawks beat the Bears 71-58 on Saturday to leave top-ranked Gonzaga as the nation’s only unbeaten team.

They also made the sure Baylor would need to wait at least a few more days to clinch its first conference title since 1950.

Kansas (18-8, 12-6 Big 12) improved to 17-5 against top-10 teams in Allen Fieldhouse under coach Bill Self, whose team also avoided getting swept in a home-and-home series by a team for just the third time in 127 opportunities since his arrival.

Baylor (18-1, 11-1 Big 12) led wire-to-wire when the teams met last month in Waco, Texas.

MaCio Teague scored 18 points, and Davion Mitchell added 13 for the Bears, who struggled with foul trouble while getting dominated 48-28 on the boards. The nation’s leading 3-point shooting team also was 6 of 26 from beyond the arc.

The result was just the second loss in 12 games against ranked opponents over the past two years, and an end to the best start in school history — though one that still has Baylor positioned for a No. 1 seed in the NCAA Tournament.

The Bears were playing for the second time since a long COVID-19 pause and, just like in their comeback win over Iowa State, got off to a lousy start. They had nearly as many air balls (three) as points (four) in the first 6-plus minutes, and foul trouble sent Jared Butler, Mark Vital and Matthew Mayer to the bench for long stretches.

Baylor eventually got on track, but Kansas closed with seven straight points to lead 33-30 at the break.

The Jayhawks, who had won five of their last six with an overtime loss at No. 14 Texas, kept stretching their lead early in the second half. Ochai Agbaji finally knocked down a 3-pointer after missing his first six tries, and McCormack followed Garrett’s miss with an easy put-back to make it 41-33 at the under-16 timeout.

Thus began a back-and-forth tussle between what has become the two premier programs in the Big 12.

Seldom-used guard Dajuan Harris scored five straight points for Kansas. Teague answered with back-to-back 3-pointers for Baylor, getting fouled on the second one and turning it into a four-point play.

Kansas was still clinging to a 57-52 lead with 5 minutes to go when Christian Braun made a pair of free throws. That began a 10-2 run over the next 3 1/2 minutes, most of the offense coming at the foul line, effectively putting away the game.

SO LONG, SENIOR

Garrett was the only player honored on senior night, which proceeded despite the late addition of UTEP to the schedule Thursday night. Fellow seniors Mitch Lightfoot and Chris Teahan plan to use COVID-19 rules to return next season.

BIG PICTURE

Baylor committed just three turnovers the entire game. But the Bears had seven shots blocked, went just 6 of 16 from the free-throw line and led for less than 5 minutes the entire game.

Kansas is starting to hit its stride — Self said as much following the game, when he addressed the roughly 2,000 fans allowed in the Phog due to COVID-19 restrictions. That momentum is a big reason why the Jayhawks added an extra game against UTEP this week, preventing them from a long layoff before the Big 12 Tournament.

UP NEXT

Baylor visits No. 10 West Virginia on Tuesday night. Kansas plays the Miners in its final regular-season game.

By |2021-02-27T22:59:07-05:00February 27th, 2021|News|
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