Tobias Harris had 12 of his 23 points in the fourth quarter, JJ Redick hit a late 3-pointer and the Philadelphia 76ers overcame All-Star center Joel Embiid’s absence to beat the Miami Heat 106-102.
Ben Simmons added 21 points, Boban Marjanovic had 19 — including three free throws in the final 1 1/2 minutes — and Jimmy Butler 18. Embiid will be out at least a week with a sore left knee.
Jusuf Nurkic had 27 points and 12 rebounds, his new backup Enes Kanter added 19 points and nine boards in his Trail Blazers debut, and Portland beat the Brooklyn Nets 113-99. The center tandem was so good that the Trail Blazers didn’t even need a big night from All-Star guard Damian Lillard, who was just 5 for 21 from the field.
Giannis Antetokounmpo scored 12 of his 30 points in the fourth quarter, Khris Middleton hit a 3-pointer in the closing seconds and the NBA-leading Milwaukee Bucks held off the Boston Celtics 98-97. The Bucks have won 15 of the last 17 games, including nine of the last 10, to improve to 44-14. Al Horford added 21 points and a season-high 17 rebounds for Boston, and Jayson Tatum had 17 points and 10 rebounds.
In other NBA games, LeBron James knows that he needs to turn up his intensity if the Los Angeles Lakers are going to make the playoffs. He certainly did that on Thursday night against the Houston Rockets when his team needed it the most. James scored 16 of his 29 points in the second half as the Lakers rallied from a 19-point deficit midway through the third quarter to defeat the Rockets 111-106. James Harden led Houston with 30 points, 10 rebounds and nine assists. It is his 32nd consecutive game where he has scored 30 or more points.
Fresh off his MVP performance in the All-Star game, Kevin Durant made certain the Golden State Warriors got off on the right foot for their stretch run to the playoffs. Durant had 28 points, nine rebounds and tied his career-high with seven blocks, and the Warriors survived a hectic finish to beat the Kings 125-123 on Thursday night.
Cedi Osman scored 19 points, Kevin Love had 16 points and 11 rebounds and the Cleveland Cavaliers sent the Phoenix Suns to a franchise-record 16th straight loss, 111-98. NBA-worst Phoenix (11-49) topped the record of 15 set March 2- April 1, 2018. The Suns’ last victory was Jan. 12 over Denver.
In NBA news, Pelicans coach Alvin Gentry says the club plans to have disaffected All-Star Anthony Davis in the starting lineup on Friday night in Indiana. But it remains unclear if Davis will play Saturday night when LeBron James and the Los Angeles Lakers visit New Orleans. Davis, who is represented by the same agent as James, has requested a trade.
A person with knowledge of the matter says that the NBA recently sent a proposal to the National Basketball Players Association about lowering the minimum age to enter the NBA draft from 19 to 18, as the sides continue moving toward eliminating the “one-and-done” policy that has many elite players going to college for one season.
In men’s basketball, UAlbany beat Stony Brook, 74-70, UMBC topped Vermont, 65-56, SMU took down UConn, 77-59, and Hartford defeated New Hampshire, 70-50.
In women’s basketball, Syracuse beat Pittsburgh, 90-63.
In top-25 basketball, Rui Hachimura scored 23 points as No. 2 Gonzaga beat Pepperdine 92-64, keeping the door open to a possible No. 1 ranking next week. Zach Norvell Jr. scored 21 and Brandon Clarke had 16 points and 11 rebounds for Gonzaga (26-2, 13-0), which won its 17th consecutive game, the longest streak in the nation. Darnell Dunn scored 16 and Jade Smith had 13 for Pepperdine (12-16, 5-9), which lost to the Zags for the 36th consecutive time dating to 2002.
Jordan Poole scored 22 points to lead the long-range shooting barrage by seventh-ranked Michigan, as the Wolverines easily beat Minnesota 69-60 on Thursday to set up a weekend matchup against rival Michigan State for first place in the Big Ten. Jon Teske had 17 points and seven rebounds and Ignas Brazdeikis added 10 points for the Wolverines, who are tied with the Spartans at the top of the conference with Purdue one-half game behind.
In college basketball news, police say Syracuse men’s basketball coach Jim Boeheim struck and killed a 51-year-old man walking outside his crashed vehicle on a highway. Syracuse police say Boeheim drove by and struck the pedestrian while trying to avoid the vehicle. Police say there was no sign that Boeheim was impaired. No tickets have been issued to Boeheim.
No. 1 Duke says freshman star Zion Williamson is day to day with a mild right knee sprain. A team spokesman says Williamson is progressing as expected after he injured his knee when his left shoe ripped apart as he slipped while dribbling during the first minute of Wednesday night’s loss to No. 8 North Carolina. Nike says it’s investigating why Williamson split a shoe open during the game.
Zach Parise had a goal and an assist, and the Minnesota Wild ended a five-game skid with a 4-1 win over the New York Rangers. Mikael Granlund and Jared Spurgeon also scored and Jordan Greenway added an empty-netter. Devan Dubnyk made 33 saves for the Wild, who earned their first victory since Feb. 9 at New Jersey. Despite their recent struggles, the Wild are still in the race for one of the final playoff spots in the Western Conference.
Connor McDavid scored in overtime and added an assist as the Edmonton Oilers snapped a five-game losing streak with a 4-3 victory over the New York Islanders on Thursday. Leon Draisaitl, Sam Gagner and Oscar Klefbom also scored for the Oilers, who have won two games out of their last 13. Anders Lee, Brock Nelson and Cal Clutterbuck scored for the Islanders, who have lost two straight.
Nikita Kucherov became the fastest player to 100 points in a season since Mario Lemieux, and he and Steven Stamkos scored in the shootout to lift the Tampa Bay Lightning over the Buffalo Sabres 2-1. Kucherov became the league’s first 100-point player this season with his 30th goal. He got there in 62 games, one more than it took Lemieux in 1995-96.
Cory Schneider made 30 saves in posting his first shutout since November 2017 and New Jersey Devils beat the undermanned Ottawa Senators 4-0 on Thursday night in a game in which both teams gave indications they were getting ready to make trades in the next few days. Travis Zajac, Steven Santini, Kurtis Gabriel and Miles Wood scored for the Devils, who won for the third time in four games.
Tomas Hertl scored a pair of first-period power-play goals, Martin Jones stopped 26 shots and the San Jose Sharks took advantage of sloppy play by the Pittsburgh Penguins in a 4-0 victory. Evander Kane added a short-handed goal for the Sharks, who beat Casey DeSmith three times in the opening 14 minutes then kept the Penguins in check the rest of the way to sweep the season series from the team that edged them in six games in the 2016 Stanley Cup finals.
Brendan Gallagher earned his first career hat trick and the Montreal Canadiens defeated the Philadelphia Flyers 5-1 Thursday night. Rookie Jesperi Kotkaniemi and Tomas Tatar also scored for the Canadiens, who won their second straight. Carey Price stopped 29 shots for his 25th victory of the season.
Alex Ovechkin scored the 650th goal of his career and Braden Holtby made 40 saves as the Washington Capitals defeated the Toronto Maple Leafs 3-2 on Thursday night. Tom Wilson had a goal and an assist, and Brett Connolly also scored for Washington, which won consecutive games for the first time in two weeks. Lars Eller added two assists. Andreas Johnsson and John Tavares scored for Toronto. Frederik Andersen made 25 stops.
Checking out other NHL games, Roman Josi had a goal and an assist as the Nashville Predators beat the Los Angeles Kings 2-1 to move atop the Central Division with their third win in four games. The Predators now are a point ahead of Winnipeg, though the Jets have three games in hand on Nashville. Kyle Turris scored a goal for Nashville, which also swept the season series with Los Angeles. Goalie Pekka Rinne made 28 saves for the win.
Justin Williams had two goals and an assist and the Carolina Hurricanes rallied for a 4-3 victory over the Florida Panthers on Thursday night. Nino Niederreiter had a goal and an assist, and Justin Faulk also scored a goal Florida, which has won seven of its last nine games. Peter Mrazek made 27 saves.
Dallas Stars captain Jamie Benn had his first multi-goal game since early October, and the St. Louis Blues suddenly looked much different than they had while winning 11 games in a row. With Benn scoring two of the four goals Dallas got in a span of just more than 12 minutes in the second period, one of those redirecting a flying puck with his stick, the Stars beat St. Louis 5-2 to end the Blues’ franchise-record winning streak.
Alex Galchenyuk scored 1:54 into overtime to give the Arizona Coyotes a 3-2 win over the Vancouver Canucks on Thursday. Bo Horvat and Adam Gaudette scored for Vancouver in regulation. Jakob Chychrun and Lawson Crouse responded for Arizona. The victory moves Arizona within a point of the Minnesota Wild, who hold the final wild card spot in the Western Conference. Vancouver lingers a single point behind the Coyotes.
In NHL news, the Washington Capitals have acquired winger Carl Hagelin from the Los Angeles Kings for a 2019 third-round pick and a conditional sixth-round pick in the next year’s entry draft. Washington is Hagelin’s fifth team during his eight-year NHL career. He has 230 points in 526 regular-season games and won the Stanley Cup with the Penguins in 2016 and 2017.
Longtime Boston Globe baseball writer Nick Cafardo has died after collapsing at the team’s spring training ballpark. He was 62. The newspaper said Cafardo had an embolism and Red Sox medical staff was unable to revive him.
The Los Angeles Dodgers will honor pitching great Don Newcombe by adding a commemorative No. 36 patch to their uniforms this season. Newcombe died Tuesday at 92. The team says Newcombe will be saluted in pregame ceremonies on April 27. Newcombe, along with Jackie Robinson and Roy Campanella, helped pave the way for blacks to play in the major leagues.
In other MLB news, the San Diego Padres officially announced their $300 million, 10-year deal with All-Star infielder Manny Machado. The agreement, the largest for a free agent in big league history, includes an opt-out clause after the 2023 season and $150 million. Machado can pick six teams annually he can’t be traded to without his consent. He gets a hotel suite on road trips and has the right to purchase premium tickets at Petco Park.
The Cleveland Indians and two-time All-Star reliever Tyler Clippard have agreed to terms on a minor league contract. Clipppard went 4-3 with a 3.67 ERA in 73 games for the Blue Jays in 2018.
The Los Angeles Angels have signed pitcher Dan Jennings to a minor league contract with an invite to spring training. The left-hander appeared in 72 games last season for the Milwaukee Brewers and had a 4-5 record with a 3.22 earned run average.
Third baseman Trevor Plouffe has agreed to a minor league contract to remain with the Philadelphia Phillies. If added to the 40-man roster, he would get a one-year contract with a $750,000 salary while in the major leagues. The 32-year-old spent last season in the Philadelphia organization and played in seven major league games.
The Cincinnati Bengals have completed their lengthy search for a defensive coordinator by hiring Lou Anarumo, who was the New York Giants’ defensive backs coach last season. Anarumo will be Cincinnati’s fourth defensive coordinator in three seasons. Anarumo also was defensive backs coach for the Dolphins from 2012-17.
Elsewhere around the NFL, the Chicago Bears have released tight end Dion Sims. Signed by Chicago in 2017 after spending his first four years with Miami, Sims caught 17 passes for 189 yards over 22 games the past two years.
The New Orleans Saints have released veteran safety Kurt Coleman after only one season. It will save the Saints at least $4 million but comes less than a year after New Orleans signed Coleman to a three-year deal worth more than $16 million.
Rory McIlroy nearly made a hole-in-one on the same short par 4 that Tiger Woods hit his first competitive shot in Mexico out-of-bounds. McIlroy kept right on rolling to an 8-under 63 for a one-shot lead Thursday in the Mexico Championship. Woods opened with a double bogey and salvaged his round with an even-par 71. McIlroy wound up with a one-shot lead over Dustin Johnson. Justin Thomas, who lost in a playoff last year to Phil Mickelson, and Matt Kuchar were at 66.
Meanwhile, Tiger Woods is skipping the Honda Classic next week as he tries to figure out a busy Florida schedule leading to the Masters. He says he will play the Arnold Palmer Invitational at Bay Hill the following week, a tournament he has won eight times, and then The Players Championship.
ATP CHAMPIONS TOUR LEGENDS
Top-seeded Juan Martin del Potro never faced a break point and won his second-round match at the Delray Beach Open, beating American Reilly Opelka 6-4, 6-4. Del Potro is playing his first event after missing four months because of a knee injury. He won the tournament in 2011.
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