Blues' rough stretch continues with 2-1 loss to Kings

ST. LOUIS — Alex Iafallo and Andreas Athanasiou scored in the second period to send the Los Angeles Kings past the St. Louis Blues 2-1 on Wednesday night for their sixth consecutive victory.

Cal Petersen made 35 saves, improving to 3-0-1 in his last four starts.

Oskar Sundqvist scored late in the third for the Blues, who fell to 1-5-1 in their last seven home games.

Iafallo put Los Angeles ahead at 10:24 of the second. St. Louis goalie Jordan Binnington couldn’t corral a shot by Dustin Brown, and Iafallo took advantage by knocking in the rebound.

The Kings made it 2-0 at 16:08 when Athanasiou scored on a wrist shot, beating Binnington to his glove side.

Binnington made his fifth consecutive start and sixth in the team’s last seven games. He stopped 19 shots in falling to 8-6-2.

St. Louis was unable to score with a 6-on-5 skating advantage for 3:25 on a delayed penalty in the third. Sundqvist scored on the ensuing power play at 18:14.

INJURIES

St. Louis D Carl Gunnarsson will miss the rest of the season with a right knee injury. He is the fifth Blues player on injured reserve. Gunnarsson got hurt Monday in a puck battle with Kings forward Gabriel Vilardi along the boards behind the net. … Ivan Barbashev had surgery on his left ankle and will be re-evaluated in six weeks. … The Blues remain without F Jaden Schwartz (lower body) and D Colton Parayko (back). This was the sixth game Schwartz has missed and the fourth for Parayko. … Kings forward Jaret Anderson-Dolan (upper body) was placed on injured reserve, retroactive to Feb. 18. … Kings D Mikey Anderson was a late scratch due to a lower-body injury.

ROSTER MOVES

Blues D Steve Santini was assigned to the taxi squad. … Kings D Austin Strand was recalled from the taxi squad.

MORNING SKATE

Blues C Tyler Bozak, who hasn’t played since taking a big hit from Mark Stone on Jan. 26, did not skate Wednesday morning. After skating the past two days, Bozak is “not feeling ready yet,” according to coach Craig Berube. … RW Vladimir Tarasenko (shoulder) was on the ice for the fifth consecutive day at the morning skate. Taraskenko is recovering from surgery he had five months ago on his left shoulder, his third operation on the shoulder and second since Oct. 27, 2019.

WHAT’S NEXT

The Kings play Friday night at Minnesota.

The Blues play Saturday night at San Jose.

By |2021-02-25T00:59:36-05:00February 25th, 2021|News|

Hoosiers let 15-point lead slip away, fall 74-63 to Scarlet Knights

PISCATAWAY, N.J. — Geo Baker and Ron Harper Jr. had 20 points apiece to help Rutgers rally from a 15-point deficit and beat Indiana 74-63 on Wednesday night.

Baker, who shot 7 of 13 from the field, set a program record with six made 3-pointers in a Big Ten conference game and had a season-high 10 assists.

Baker hit four of the Scarlet Knights‘ seven 3s in a 25-6 run over a 7-plus minutes span that made it 33-29 with 55 seconds left in the first half, and Rutgers (13-13, 9-9) led the rest of the way.

Myles Johnson had 10 points, 10 rebounds and a career-high seven blocks for Rutgers.

Trayce Jackson-Davis had 21 points and 11 rebounds and Aljami Durham added 20 points for Indiana (12-11, 7-9).

The Scarlet Knights went into the game on the bubble for the program’s first NCAA tournament berth since 1991. Their last two regular season games are on the road at Nebraska (5-16, 1-13) on Monday and Minnesota (13-10, 6-10) on March 6.

Anthony Leal hit a 3-pointer to trim Indiana’s deficit to 54-45 with 10:50 to play, but the Hoosiers missed their next nine shots as they went nearly 8 minutes without a field goal.

Indiana has lost back-to-back games and three of its last four. The Hoosiers play host to No. 3 Michigan on Saturday before closing out conference play with road games against Michigan State and Purdue.

By |2021-02-25T00:24:20-05:00February 25th, 2021|News|

Wild beat Avalanche 6-2 for fourth straight win

DENVER — Nico Sturm led a balanced Minnesota scoring attack with two goals, Kaapo Kahkonen was sharp in making 30 saves and the Wild earned their fourth straight win by beating the Colorado Avalanche 6-2 on Wednesday night.

Mats Zuccarello, Zach Parise, Marcus Foligno and Ryan Hartman also scored for the Wild, who finished 4-1 on their road swing. In all, 10 Minnesota players had at least one point.

Kahkonen continued to be hard to solve — he’s turned back 103 of 109 shots during the win streak.

J.T. Compher and Nazem Kadri scored for an Avalanche team that’s dropped two in a row. They were 5-0 following a loss this season.

Philipp Grubauer made 19 saves.

Kadri’s power-play goal with 17 minutes remaining pulled the Avalanche to 3-2. It ended an 0-for-19 drought with the man advantage spanning the last seven games. Colorado’s special teams also allowed a short-handed goal by Foligno in the second period.

Minnesota put the game away with goals by Hartman and Sturm 1:03 apart in the third. Sturm added another in the final period.

Compher tied it at 1 early in the second when he took a pass from Samuel Girard and sent a shot over the glove of Kahkonen. Both of Compher’s goals this season have come against Minnesota.

The Wild responded with scores from Parise and Foligno 2:40 apart to give Kahkonen all the cushion he would need.

Zuccarello scored for a third straight game. He also had an assist to give him nine points since his season debut on Feb. 16. Zuccarello missed the first 11 games with an upper-body injury.

The game was originally scheduled for Feb. 4, but was postponed due to COVID-19 protocols.

BABY NO. 2

Colorado forward Brandon Saad missed the game to be with his wife as they expect their second child.

“They went into the hospital last night, so we are hoping and praying that everything is going good there,” coach Jared Bednar said.

TAXI SERVICE?

A packed upcoming schedule may mean the Avalanche utilize their taxi squad. They don’t have more than one day between games for the rest of the season. Included in that are six back-to-back contests.

“We’ll just keep playing it by ear,” Bednar said of using a wave of fresh players. “We need to start building chemistry on some lines and throughout our lineup in order to get the production that we want.”

CRANK IT UP

Kadri & Co. appreciate the pre- and in-game music turned up loud for an extra boost in the absence of a crowd.

“You try to crank the warmup music up a little bit and just try to focus,” Kadri said. “Not much else you can do.”

COLE’S PRESENCE

Wild coach Dean Evason has been impressed with veteran defenseman Ian Cole, who was acquired from Colorado on Jan. 19.

“What he’s brought to our room is leadership,” Evason said.

AROUND THE RINK

Wild C Marcus Johansson missed a third straight game with an upper-body injury. … F Mikko Rantanen and D Cale Makar had assists for Colorado. … Parise earned career point No. 800 with his goal.

By |2021-02-25T00:09:58-05:00February 25th, 2021|News|

Allen ties career high with 26 points as Cavaliers roll over Rockets 112-96

CLEVELAND (AP) — Jarrett Allen tied his career high with 26 points, grabbed 18 rebounds and blocked four shots as the Cleveland Cavaliers pulled away for a 112-96 win over Houston on Wednesday night, extending the Rockets’ losing streak to nine games.

Allen, who leads the NBA making 67.2% of his field goals, went 10 of 11 from the floor as Cleveland won for the second straight evening after dropping its previous 10 contests. It beat Atlanta 112-111 on Lamar Stevens’ dunk with 4.1 seconds left Tuesday.

“At 22 years old, Jarrett is not near his potential ceiling — and that’s the part I’m most excited about,” Cavaliers coach J.B. Bickerstaff said. “He plays off his teammates well and he knows they’re looking for him.”

Allen did it by himself in the third quarter, going coast to coast with a rebound and finishing with a one-handed dunk that reminded his coach of the legendary Julius Erving in the American Basketball Association.

“I got the rebound and I took two dribbles, so it’s close, it’s close (to what Dr. J did),” Allen said, laughing. “We have the same first initial, we both had the afro and we both were soaring through the air.”

John Wall scored 20 points and Victor Oladipo had 17 points and six rebounds in his return from a strained right foot for Houston, whose last victory occurred at Memphis on Feb. 4. Eric Gordon added 17 points off the bench.

The Rockets were outrebounded 55-33 and didn’t start a player taller than 6-foot-6, which Wall and Oladipo both admitted frustration about. P.J. Tucker and rookie Jae’Sean Tate led Houston with seven boards apiece.

“I’m used to playing with a traditional big that rolls and pops, just like John is, but we’ve got to figure out a way to win,” said Oladipo, who sat out the previous four games.

The Cavaliers blew the game open with a 22-9 run in the fourth, capped by a 3-pointer by rookie Isaac Okoro that made it 106-89. Cleveland later extended its lead to 112-93 on a trey by Collin Sexton, who scored 23 points.

Dean Wade scored 11 points and Cedi Osman had seven points and eight rebounds as the Cavaliers held an opponent below 100 points for the first time since Feb. 1, a span of 11 games.

“Our defense wasn’t good and our offense was disjointed,” Houston coach Stephen Silas said. “It wasn’t very good all around.”

Darius Garland collected 11 points and 10 assists for the Cavaliers, who shot 67.6% in the second half. Rookie Dylan Windler scored 13 points on 4-of-4 3-point shooting, extending his string of makes beyond the arc to nine.

“Continuing to see growth as a player is my goal, game after game and year after year,” Windler said.

TIP-INS

Rockets: Houston will play 10 back-to-back sets in the second half of the season, which it opens on March 11 with a stretch of 11 games in 17 days. … C Christian Wood (right ankle sprain), who has been out since Feb. 4 at Memphis, will return after the All-Star break. … G Kevin Porter Jr., acquired from Cleveland on Jan. 29, is averaging 23.3 points for Rio Grande Valley in the G League. Silas said he will join the Rockets in March.

Cavaliers: F Taurean Prince (left ankle soreness) saw his first action since Feb. 14, playing eight minutes before his injury flared up. … Wade made his second straight start after not playing in the previous two games. … Bickerstaff’s first head coaching job was on an interim basis with Houston in 2015-2016. “I learned the daily struggle of how hard it is to manage 15 guys there,” he said. “That was a big difference.”

UP NEXT

Rockets: Play the Raptors in Tampa, Florida on Friday. Wall is averaging 19.1 points and 8.0 assists in 27 career games against Toronto, all of them with Washington.

Cavaliers: Visit Philadelphia on Saturday. Sexton had 22 points as Cleveland beat the 76ers 118-94 on Dec. 27, posting its largest victory margin since March 11, 2019.

By |2021-02-25T00:00:39-05:00February 24th, 2021|News|

Zion Williamson leads Pelicans past Pistons, 128-118

NEW ORLEANS (AP) — Zion Williamson scored 32 points in his first game since being named a first-time All-Star, and the New Orleans Pelicans beat the Detroit Pistons 128-118 on Wednesday night.

Highlighting his performance with quick dribbling spin moves to elude multiple converging defenders in the paint and set up short floaters and layups, or with thunderous one-handed dunks on cuts down the lane or along the baseline, Williamson made 13 of his 18 shots in reaching the 30-point threshold for the eighth time this season.

Brandon Ingram added 27 points, eight assists and seven rebounds for New Orleans, which trailed most of the first three quarters before edging in front in the fourth quarter, thwarting the Pistons’ bid to win two road games in consecutive nights. Steven Adams scored 14 points and grabbed 15 rebounds in his first action since missing two games with a sore right ankle. His putback gave the Pelicans a 121-111 lead with 2:15 left.

Josh Jackson scored 25, and Mason Plumlee added 21 points for Detroit, which led by 10 in the first half and nine in the third quarter. Saban Lee and Saddiq Bey each scored 13 points.

The Pistons looked sharp early, combining for nine 3s and shooting 53.1% overall (26 of 49) in scoring a season-best 69 first-half points.

Detroit got 36 first-half points from reserves including 10 from Jackson and nine from Svi Mykhailiuk on three 3s.

The Piston’s led by as many as 10 when Jackson’s floater made it 43-33.

Detroit was up by seven late in the half before Williamson scored on a dribble drive in the final seconds of the quarter to make it 69-94.

TIP-INS

Pistons: Fell to 3-15 on the road. … Wayne Ellington started after resting a night earlier in Orlando. He had seven points and three assists in 24 minutes, missing six of seven 3-point attempts. … Mykhailiuk finished with 12 points and Dennis Smith Jr. scored 12. … Sekou Doumbouya was limited to 22 minutes in part because he was called for his fifth foul half way through the third quarter. … Finished 13 of 37 from 3-point range.

Pelicans: Josh Hart led Pelicans reserves with 11 points in x minutes. … Starting guards Eric Bledsoe and Lonzo Ball each scored 10 points while Ball added eight assists. … New Orleans shot 55.6% (50 of 90), including 10 of 23 from deep. … Hart was assessed a technical foul after complaining that Detroit defenders were permitted to hack him on the arm during a layup attempt. … The Pelicans outscored Detroit 74-60 in the paint and outscored the Pistons 26-13 on fast breaks.

UP NEXT

Pistons: Hosts Sacramento Friday night in the first of two straight games at home

Pelicans: Visits Milwaukee on Thursday night in the first of two consecutive road games.

By |2021-02-24T23:31:47-05:00February 24th, 2021|News|

Gilgeous-Alexander scores 42 as Thunder top Spurs 102-99

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — Shai Gilgeous-Alexander scored a career-high 42 points and Lu Dort hit a 3-pointer as time expired to give the Oklahoma City Thunder a 102-99 win over the San Antonio Spurs on Wednesday night.

San Antonio turned the ball over with 3.9 seconds remaining, giving Oklahoma City the ball with the score tied. Dort’s corner 3-pointer dropped as the buzzer sounded, and his teammates mobbed him.

Gilgeous-Alexander, one of the NBA’s highest-scoring players to be left off the All-Star rosters, made 13 of 20 field goals, 10 of 11 free throws and shot 6 of 11 on 3s.

Dort and Al Horford each scored 16 points for the Thunder.

Dejounte Murray had 27 points and Patty Mills added 15 for the Spurs.

San Antonio hadn’t played since Feb. 14 because of health and safety protocols, and the Spurs were still depleted. DeMar DeRozan, the team’s leading scorer, sat out for personal reasons. Rudy Gay, Keldon Johnson, Devin Vassell, Quinnary Witherspoon and Derrick White were out because of health and safety protocols.

Gilgeous-Alexander took over in the third quarter. He hit a 3-pointer while being fouled, and his free throw cut San Antonio’s lead to 53-51. He later drained a 3 to tie the game at 65. His layup at the end of the third as time expired put Oklahoma City up 76-73. He scored 21 points in the period on 5-for-5 shooting from the field and 8-for-9 shooting from the free throw line.

Horford’s 3-pointer on an assist from Gilgeous-Alexander put the Thunder up 87-86 with about seven minutes remaining, and the game remained close from there.

TIP-INS

Spurs: LaMarcus Aldridge returned after missing six games due to hip soreness. He had 11 points and seven rebounds. … San Antonio went 5 of 10 on 3-pointers in the second quarter. … The Spurs made 10 of 15 free throws.

Thunder: Made six 3-pointers in the first quarter while holding the Spurs to one. San Antonio didn’t make one until the final minute of the period. … Missed all seven of their 3-point tries in the second quarter. … Hamidou Diallo did not play in the second half because of left groin soreness.

UP NEXT

The Spurs host the New Orleans Pelicans on Saturday.

The Thunder host the Atlanta Hawks on Friday.

By |2021-02-24T23:25:04-05:00February 24th, 2021|News|

Pacers' home losing streak extends to four games with 111-107 loss to Warriors

INDIANAPOLIS — Stephen Curry scored 24 points, Draymond Green fell just short of a triple-double and the weary Golden State Warriors beat the Indiana Pacers 111-107 on Wednesday night.

Green had 12 points, 11 rebounds, nine assists and three steals. The Warriors took control with a late 6-0 run to seal their second straight victory on a four-game trip.

Malcolm Brogdon led the Pacers with 24 points, and Domantas Sabonis had 22 points and 16 rebounds for his his 24th double-double of the season. But the Pacers looked rusty after taking an unexpected one-week break because of two postponed games.

Golden State had opportunities to turn the back-and-forth game earlier.

But after using a 7-0 run to take an 81-75 lead late in the third, the Pacers fought back to tie it at 86 early in the fourth. The Warriors again appeared to be poised to take control when Brad Wanamaker made a tie-breaking 14-footer, followed that with a free throw and then watched Eric Paschall make two more free throws to make it 95-91 with 6:34 to go but the Pacers cut the deficit to 99-98 with 4:36 left.

That’s when the Warriors finally put it away by scoring six straight.

TIP-INS

Warriors: Pascalll had 13 points. … Andrew Wiggins scored 15 points and has scored in double figures every game this season… Kelly Oubre Jr. finished with 17 points, the first time in five games he failed to reach 19. … Rookie James Wiseman had 11 points before fouling out early in the fourth. … The Warriors were 5 of 26 on 3-pointers, shooting a season-low 19.2%. … Golden State won in Indy for the first time since March 2019. … The Warriors became the fifth team in NBA history with 1,000th road wins, joining the Celtics, Lakers, 76ers and Knicks.

Pacers: Sabonis had 15 points and seven rebounds in the second quarter. … Myles Turner finished with 14 points, eight rebounds and two blocks. … Dour McDermott added 15 points. … T.J. McConnell had nine points, six assists and five rebounds. … Indiana had won the last two against Golden State. It hasn’t won three straight in the series since 2011-12. … The Pacers were 7 of 29 on 3s and had 19 turnovers.

JUST SHORT

It was a tough night for Curry, who came up just short of two major milestones Wednesday.

The perennial All-Star went 7 of 21 from the field, falling one basket short of joining Wilt Chamberlain, Rick Barry and Chris Mullin as the only players in Warriors history to reach 6,000 field goals.

And while he did extend his streak of consecutive games with a 3 to 94, one short of teammate Klay Thompson for the third-longest in NBA history, his 14-game streak with 25 or more points ended. It was Golden State’s longest streak since Barry had 17 in a row in 1974-75.

UP NEXT

Warriors: Host Charlotte on Friday night.

Pacers: At Boston on Friday night.

By |2021-02-24T23:25:06-05:00February 24th, 2021|News|

Timberwolves can't stop LaVine in OT loss to Bulls

CHICAGO — Zach LaVine celebrated his first All-Star selection with 35 points against his original NBA team, helping the Chicago Bulls beat the Minnesota Timberwolves 133-126 in overtime Wednesday night.

Chicago shot 59% from the field and had seven players score in double figures during its fifth win in six games. Coby White had 20 points, and Wendell Carter Jr. finished with 17 points and 10 rebounds.

LaVine, named an All-Star reserve Tuesday night, made 14 of 21 shots in his 16th game this season with at least 30 points. The dynamic guard was selected by Minnesota in the first round of the 2014 draft and spent three seasons with the Timberwolves before he was traded to the Bulls in June 2017.

More Timberwolves coverage

Minnesota lost for the 10th time in 11 games despite a gutsy second-half rally while playing for the second straight night. New coach Chris Finch is winless in two games since taking over after Ryan Saunders was fired Sunday night.

Malik Beasley scored 25 points for the Timberwolves, and Karl-Anthony Towns had 24 points and eight rebounds. Anthony Edwards added 21 points, and Jarred Vanderbilt matched his career high with 16.

Minnesota was down 119-116 when veteran guard Ricky Rubio was fouled by White on a 3-point try with 4.9 seconds remaining. Rubio calmly made all three foul shots and LaVine missed a 3 as time expired, sending the game to overtime.

Chicago then opened overtime with a 7-0 run. LaVine capped the spurt with a 3-pointer, making it 126-119 with 3:27 left.

White made two free throws with 15.1 seconds remaining to help the Bulls hold on.

Minnesota trailed by 14 early in the second half, but Towns had 15 points in the third quarter and Josh Okogie’s layup trimmed Chicago’s lead to 98-97 with 8:59 left in the fourth.

TIP-INS

Timberwolves: Jarrett Culver (left ankle sprain) missed his 17th straight game. The No. 6 overall pick in the 2019 draft was listed as probable.

Bulls: F Lauri Markkanen (sprained right shoulder) isn’t expected to return until after the All-Star break. He got hurt during a 123-119 loss at Orlando on Feb. 5. “He makes progress, but he has not done anything contact-wise,” coach Billy Donovan said. “He’s done nothing that at this point in time would show us that he’s going to be back within the next week.”

UP NEXT

Timberwolves: At Washington on Saturday night. The Timberwolves lost 130-109 to the Wizards on Jan. 1.

Bulls: Host the Phoenix Suns on Friday night.

By |2021-02-24T23:20:43-05:00February 24th, 2021|News|

Marquette hands North Carolina home nonconference loss

CHAPEL HILL, N.C. — Dawson Garcia had 24 points and 11 rebounds, D.J. Carton added 17 points with five assists and Marquette beat North Carolina 83-70 on Wednesday night in a game schedule just four days ago.

It was just North Carolina’s 18th nonconference defeat in the 35-year history of the Dean E. Smith Center.

North Carolina scored first but did not lead the rest of the way as Marquette answered with a 14-2 run. Garcia had 16 points in the first half and Greg Elliott added 13 as the Golden Eagles led 45-29.

More Marquette coverage

Marquette struggled in the backcourt against North Carolina’s pressure defense in the second half, having 10 turnovers to just nine made field goals with 5:22 remaining. But the Golden Eagles went on an 8-0 run, with six points from Carton, for a 79-63 lead with 2:38 left to seal it.

Elliott scored 15 points with four steals and Theo John had 11 for Marquette (11-12). The Golden Eagles, who are currently 10th in the 11 team Big East, entered having lost six of their last eight — with two victories over Butler.

Garrison Brooks led North Carolina (14-8) with 18 points. R.J. Davis added 11 points, Walker Kessler scored 10, and Day’Ron Sharpe had nine points and 11 boards.

North Carolina is schedule to host No. 11 Florida State, looking for coach Roy Williams’ 900th career victory. His 899 wins are third most all-time, behind Mike Krzyzewski (1,168), Jim Boeheim (977) and Bob Knight (902) – all Naismith Hall of Famers. Legendary UNC coach Dean Smith won 879 games.

The Tar Heels had postponed home games against Clemson (Jan. 9) and No. 16 Virginia Tech (Feb. 16), along with Tuesday’s road game at Boston College, amid COVID-19 issues involving their opponents.

By |2021-02-24T22:04:31-05:00February 24th, 2021|News|

Pacers release second-half schedule, starting March 12 at Lakers

The Indiana Pacers will be out west when they open the second half of their 2020-21 NBA schedule with a three-game trip.

The Pacers will play the Lakers in Los Angeles on March 12, followed by games at Phoenix (March 13) and Denver (March 15). They then return home to play the Brooklyn Nets before leaving on another three-game trip (two games in Miami and one in Milwaukee).

Indiana’s regular season is scheduled to end May 16 in Toronto.

The NBA originally released only the first half of the schedule — through March 4 — in anticipation of postponements due to coronavirus protocols. The second-half schedule includes three reschedulings of first-half Pacers postponements.

Click HERE to view the complete Pacers season schedule (reflecting all rescheduled games to date).

By |2021-02-24T21:41:13-05:00February 24th, 2021|News|
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