NBA SCOREBOARD

Detroit 116 Toronto 112

Brooklyn 124 Indiana 115

Milwaukee 109 Philadelphia 105 OT

Sacramento 121 Washington 119

San Antonio 106 Chicago 99

Cleveland 117 Boston 110

Golden State 108 Houston 94

Denver 129 Charlotte 104

Memphis 89 Miami 85…DESMOND BANE 8PTS, 5 REB, 2 ASST

Dallas 105 LA Clippers 89

NHL SCOREBOARD

Vancouver 3 Ottawa 2

NY Rangers 9 Philadelphia 0

Winnipeg 4 Montréal 3

Vegas 5 San Jose 4

Edmonton 7 Calgary 3

Los Angeles 4 St. Louis 1

MAJOR LEAGUE BASEBALL – SPRING TRAINING

LA Dodgers 4 Chicago White Sox 3

Oakland 10 Kansas City 5

San Francisco 11 Colorado 8

Texas 3 Arizona 0

Chicago Cubs 8 San Diego 2

Cincinnati 12 Cleveland 7

LA Angels 7 Seattle 4

Boston 9 Minnesota 1

Philadelphia 2 Detroit 0

Tampa Bay 10 Pittsburgh 9

Miami 3 NY Mets 2

NY Yankees 1 Toronto 0

Baltimore 5 Atlanta 2

St. Louis 4 Houston 4

INDIANA HIGH SCHOOL BOYS BASKETBALL SEMI-STATE

Elkhart (North Side Gym)
Class 2A | Blackford (25-4) vs. Fort Wayne Blackhawk Christian (26-3) | 1 pm ET
Class 3A | Leo (23-4) vs. South Bend St. Joseph (21-4) | 4 pm ET

Lafayette Jefferson (Crawley Center)
Class A | Southwood (17-10) vs. Kouts (28-2) | 1 pm ET
Class 4A | Carmel (24-2) vs. Gary West Side (22-4) | 3:45 pm ET

Seymour (Lloyd E. Scott Gymnasium)
Class 3A | Silver Creek (23-4) vs. Guerin Catholic (21-3) | 1 pm ET
Class 4A | Bloomington South (25-4) vs. Lawrence North (27-2) | 4 pm ET

Washington (Hatchet House)
Class A | Barr-Reeve (27-2) vs. Tindley (19-9) | 2 pm ET
Class 2A | Southridge (17-10) vs. Parke Heritage (26-3) | 4:30 pm ET

FINALISTS FOR INDIANA MISS BASKETBALL AWARD

Jayla Smith, Lawrence North: 16.1 ppg, 39% from 3-point, 3.7 steals per game. (PURDUE)

Ally Becki, Brownsburg: 17.9 points, 7.9 rebounds and 4.1 steals per game. (BALL STATE)

Ari Wiggins, Heritage Christian: 27.6 points, 5.6 rebounds, 3.9 assists and 3.4 steals per game. (MICHIGAN)

Field is set: NCAA Tournament will have no replacement teams

(AP) — The deadline for teams to be replaced in the NCAA Tournament passed without incident: The field of 68 is set, with only Virginia not yet settled in Indiana.

The NCAA had selected the first four teams outside the field to be on standby just in case one of the teams selected had to withdraw because of COVID-19 issues. Louisville was the first team on deck, then Colorado State, Saint Louis and Mississippi.

The deadline for a replacement team to be called up to Indianapolis was 6 p.m. EDT Tuesday. If any team has to withdraw after this point, the game will be a no contest and their opponent will advance in the bracket.

Virginia is still on campus after most of its players ended up in quarantine after one individual tested positive for COVID-19 last week. That forced the Cavaliers to withdraw from the Atlantic Coast Conference Tournament.

Because Virginia’s players and coaches can still complete seven days of negative tests before arriving in Indianapolis, they will be allowed to arrive late for Saturday night’s first-round game against 13th-seeded Ohio.

NCAA senior vice president for basketball Dan Gavitt said Wednesday that Virginia is expected to arrive early Friday. The fourth-seeded Cavaliers will still have to be tested twice and quarantine until both tests are returned negative. Gavitt said he believe Virginia will have the opportunity to get a practice in before they play.

HOW TO WATCH THE FIRST ROUND OF MEN’S NCAA TOURNEY

Texas Southern vs. Mount St. Mary’s, 5:10 p.m. Thursday in Bloomington, Ind., TruTV

Drake vs. Wichita State, 6:27 p.m. Thursday in West Lafayette, Ind., TBS

Appalachian State vs. Norfolk State, 8:40 p.m. Thursday in Bloomington, Ind., TruTV

UCLA vs. Michigan State, 9:57 p.m. Thursday in West Lafayette, Ind., TBS

1 Michigan (20-4) vs. 16 Mt. St. Mary’s/Texas Southern winner, 3 p.m. Saturday at West Lafayette, CBS

8 LSU (18-9) vs. 9 St. Bonaventure (16-4), 1:45 p.m. Saturday at Bloomington, TNT

5 Colorado (22-8) vs. 12 Georgetown (13-12), 12:15 p.m. Saturday at Hinkle Fieldhouse, CBS

4 Florida State (16-6) vs. 13 UNC Greensboro (21-8), 12:45 p.m. Saturday at Bankers Life Fieldhouse, TruTV

6 BYU (20-6) vs. 11 Michigan State/UCLA winner, 9:40 p.m. Saturday at Hinkle Fieldhouse, CBS

3 Texas (19-7) vs. 14 Abilene Christian (23-4), 9:50 p.m. Saturday at Lucas Oil Stadium, TruTV

7 UConn (15-7) vs. 10 Maryland (16-13), 7:10 p.m. Saturday at West Lafayette, Ind., CBS

2 Alabama (24-6) vs. 15 Iona (12-5), 4 p.m. Saturday at Hinkle Fieldhouse, TBS

1 Illinois (23-6) vs. 16 Drexel (12-7), 1:15 p.m. Friday at Farmers Coliseum, TBS

8 Loyola Chicago (24-4) vs. 9 Georgia Tech (17-8), 4 p.m. Friday at Hinkle Fieldhouse, TBS

5 Tennessee (18-8) vs. 12 Oregon State (17-12), 4:30 p.m. Friday at Bankers Life Fieldhouse, TNT

4 Oklahoma State (20-8) vs. 13 Liberty (23-5), 6:25 p.m. Friday at Farmers Coliseum, TBS

6 San Diego State (23-4) vs. 11 Syracuse (16-9), 9:40 p.m. Friday at Hinkle Fieldhouse, CBS

3 West Virginia (18-9) vs. 14 Morehead State (23-7), 9:50 p.m. Friday at Lucas Oil Stadium, TruTV

7 Clemson (16-7) vs. 10 Rutgers (15-11), 9:20 p.m. Friday at Bankers Life Fieldhouse, CBS

2 Houston (24-3) vs. 15 Cleveland State (19-7), 7:15 p.m. Friday at Bloomington, Ind., TruTV

1 Baylor (22-2) vs. 16 Hartford (15-8), 3:30 p.m. Friday at Lucas Oil Stadium, TruTV

8 North Carolina (18-10) vs. 9 Wisconsin (17-12), 7:10 p.m. Friday at West Lafayette, Ind., CBS

5 Villanova (16-6) vs. 12 Winthrop (23-1), 9:57 p.m. Friday at Farmers Coliseum, TNT

4 Purdue (18-9) vs. 13 North Texas  (17-9), 7:25 p.m. Friday at Lucas Oil Stadium, TNT

6 Texas Tech (17-10) vs. 11 Utah State (20-8), 1:45 p.m. Friday at Bloomington, Ind., TNT

3 Arkansas (22-6) vs. 14 Colgate (14-1), 12:45 p.m. Friday at Bankers Life Fieldhouse, TruTV

7 Florida (14-9) vs. 10 Virginia Tech (15-6), 12:15 p.m. Friday at Hinkle Fieldhouse, CBS

2 Ohio State (21-9) vs. 15 Oral Roberts (16-10), 3 p.m. Friday at West Lafayette, Ind., CBS

Gonzaga leads the West region and will play winner of Norfolk State/Appalachian State winner. Those two schools will play in the ‘First Four.”

8 Oklahoma (15-10) vs. 9 Missouri (16-9), 7:25 p.m. Saturday at Lucas Oil Stadium, TNT

5 Creighton (20-8) vs. 12 UC Santa Barbara (22-4), 3:30 p.m. Saturday at Lucas Oil Stadium, TruTV

UConn frosh Paige Bueckers leads women’s AP All-America team

(AP) — Paige Bueckers came to Connecticut with a lot of hype surrounding her.

The freshman guard has lived up to it so far, delivering record-breaking performances and earning a spot on The Associated Press women’s basketball All-American team Wednesday. She’s only the third freshman to make the AP team, joining Oklahoma’s Courtney Paris and UConn’s Maya Moore.

Bueckers received 28 first place votes from the national panel of 30 media members that vote each week in the AP Top 25 poll. She was joined by Dana Evans of Louisville, Aliyah Boston of South Carolina, Rhyne Howard of Kentucky and NaLyssa Smith of Baylor.

“Name one player that has taken a team this young to where we are today,” UConn coach Geno Auriemma said. “Who’s done more than her? And if you can give me a better argument, then I would say I’ll vote for them, too. But I don’t think you can.”

Bueckers averaged 19.7 points, 6.1 assists and shot nearly 54% from the field and a remarkable 47% from 3-point range. She became the first UConn player to score 30 or more points in three straight games, including a 31-point effort against South Carolina. She also set the school record for assists in a game (14) and the freshman mark.

“You see some of the things that Paige does with the ball, and you realize that if somebody told you she was a senior, you wouldn’t be surprised,” Auriemma said. “She handles the ball like one and she sees the floor like one.”

Evans was a key to Louisville’s regular-season ACC championship. She averaged 20 points and saved her best effort for the fourth quarter when she consistently would take over games to give the Cardinals the victory. She shot 92% from the free throw line.

“It’s a kid who’s worked from day one, trusted the process, came here as a freshman and played important minutes on the team that went to the Final Four but wasn’t the focal point,” Louisville coach Jeff Walz said. “As her career evolved, more responsibility came and she stepped up to it each and every year.”

Boston had a solid sophomore season for the Gamecocks, averaging 13.7 points, 11.7 rebounds and blocking 2.8 shots a game. She was a key reason that the Gamecocks won the SEC Tournament.

“We talked about (Alaina Coates and A’ja Wilson) in the same breath in their sophomore years. (Aliyah) is in the conversation by far,” South Carolina coach Dawn Staley. “Some things she does better, honestly, being able to communicate and defensively I think overall she sees a lot more than Alaina and A’ja saw. … We’re asking Aliyah to do it all. Be a passer, scorer, rebounder, defender, be all things and she’s handled it extremely well.”

Out of the five players, only Howard was a first-team All-American last season. Evans and Boston earned second-team honors in 2020.

Howard had a strong junior year, averaging 20.7 points and 2.3 steals for the Wildcats. She became the school’s first women’s basketball All-American last season.

“I think what makes Rhyne special is she can play the one through the five on both ends of the floor,” Kentucky coach Kyra Elzy said. “She also makes the people around her better, upping her averages this year in rebounding, assists and steals.”

Smith has been a key reason for Baylor’s continued success. The junior forward led the team in scoring and rebounding as the Lady Bears won their 11th regular-season Big 12 title in a row. She averaged 18.1 points and shot 54% from the field.

“This year she started out, I felt like trying to to just be a big-time scoring player and maybe sometimes feeling the weight of the world on her shoulders,” Baylor coach Kim Mulkey said. “She finally realized, I’m on a good team and I’m going to shine and I’m going to relax here and I’m going to start shooting the basketball better. She’s just an athlete.”

The second team was headlined by N.C. State’s Elissa Cunane. She was joined by Naz Hillmon, who is the first women’s player at Michigan to earn All-America honors. Aari McDonald of Arizona was on the second team for the second straight year. Iowa freshman Caitlin Clark, who led the nation in scoring and Charli Collier of Texas rounded out the squad.

The third team was Oklahoma State’s Natasha Mack, Maryland’s Ashley Owusu, UCLA’s Michaela Onyenwere, Stanford’s Kiana Williams and Arkansas’ Chelsea Dungee.

Howard, Evans, Onyenwere, Boston and McDonald made up the preseason All-America team.

AP sources: Heat sending Leonard to Thunder for Ariza

The Miami Heat have agreed to trade Meyers Leonard and a future second-round pick to the Oklahoma City Thunder for Trevor Ariza, two people with knowledge of the situation said Wednesday.

The teams were working to schedule a trade call with the league, which signs off on all deals, according to the people who spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because the deal was still pending.

Leonard, who needed to sign off on the trade because of his contract status, has done so, according to one of the people who was familiar with the terms of the agreement. The Thunder are not expected to keep Leonard, who is unable to play the rest of this season because of a shoulder injury and has a team option for about $10.2 million next season.

Leonard has been away from the Heat for more than a week after a video surfaced of him using an anti-Semitic slur while livestreaming a video game. He apologized for the incident, which was roundly criticized by the Heat, Jewish groups and NBA Commissioner Adam Silver, who fined Leonard $50,000 and barred him from being around the Heat for one week. The team had previously said Leonard would be away from the team indefinitely.

Silver has said that he believes Leonard “is genuinely remorseful” for using the slur.

“Meyers Leonard’s comment was inexcusable and hurtful and such an offensive term has no place in the NBA or in our society,” Silver said last week.

Leonard’s mandate from the league to participate in a cultural diversity program will remain in place. He has already met with representatives from the Anti-Defamation League, a prominent Jewish organization that works to stop extremism and delivers anti-bias education.

Leonard will become a free agent this summer with the Thunder not planning to exercise the option. The second-round pick the Thunder will get is to be conveyed in 2027, and gives Oklahoma City – which has collected more than 30 picks to use over the next seven years through various other trades – four second-rounders in that year’s draft alone.

Ex-NBA player Shawn Bradley paralyzed in cycling accident

(AP) — Former NBA player Shawn Bradley disclosed Wednesday that he was paralyzed two months ago when he was struck from behind by a vehicle while riding a bike near his Utah home.

The statement issued through the Dallas Mavericks on behalf of the 48-year-old Bradley was the first public acknowledgement of the incident involving the second overall pick in the 1993 draft by Philadelphia.

The 7-foot-6 Bradley was riding his bike about a block from his home in St. George, Utah, on Jan. 20, when he was struck, causing a traumatic spinal cord injury, the statement said. Bradley has been hospitalized since the accident, undergoing neck fusion surgery and rehabilitation.

“With his wife Carrie at his side around the clock, and supported by an amazing team of rehabilitation specialists and family, Bradley is in good spirits,” the statement said. “He plans to use his accident as a platform to bring greater public awareness to the importance of bicycle safety.”

Bradley, a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, played one season at BYU in 1990-91 before doing two years of missionary work in Australia. Bradley was drafted after he returned.

“His very strong sense of faith is being tested as he participates in grueling physical therapy and learns how to cope with the challenges of paraplegia,” the statement said. “Doctors have advised him that his road to recovery will be both long and arduous, perhaps an even more difficult physical challenge than playing professional basketball.”

Bradley spent the last eight-plus seasons of his 12-year career with the Mavericks, who acquired him as part of a nine-player trade with the New Jersey Nets in 1997. Two years earlier, the 76ers had traded Bradley to the Nets.

Bradley averaged at least three blocks per game in each of his first six seasons, including an NBA-best 3.4 the season he was traded to Dallas. Bradley’s career averages were 8.1 points, 6.3 rebounds and 2.5 blocks.

“Shawn has always been incredibly determined and shown a fighting spirit,” Mavericks owner Mark Cuban said. “We wish him nothing but the best in his recovery. He will always be a part of our Mavs family.”

Bradley averaged 5.2 blocks as a freshman at BYU while scoring 14.8 points per game. The Cougars lost in the second round of the NCAA Tournament.

Report: Colts re-signing Marlon Mack

The Indianapolis Colts are re-signing running back Marlon Mack, a source told Tom Pelissero of NFL Network on Wednesday.

The deal is a one-year, $2-million contract, Pelissero adds.

Mack missed most of the 2020 season after suffering a torn Achilles in Week 1. Prior to the injury, Mack had a feature role in the Colts’ backfield. The 25-year-old reeled off a career-high 1,091 yards, along with eight touchdowns, in his 2019 campaign.

The Colts selected the South Florida alum in the fourth round of the 2017 draft.

Mack will likely split carries with second-year runner Jonathan Taylor. Indy spent a second-round selection on Taylor last spring. As a rookie, he rushed for 1,169 yards and 11 touchdowns while adding 36 receptions for 299 yards.

Meanwhile, the Colts officially announced their acquisition of quarterback Carson Wentz, who projects to succeed the retired Philip Rivers.

AP source: Vikings agree to deal with CB Patrick Peterson

(AP) The Minnesota Vikings agreed to a one-year contract worth up to $10 million with eight-time Pro Bowl cornerback Patrick Peterson on Wednesday night, according to a person with knowledge of the negotiations.

The person spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because the team had yet to announce the deal. He’ll get an $8 million base salary, with up to $2 million in incentives for playing time and being named All-Pro.

Peterson, a three-time All-Pro pick, played 10 seasons with the Arizona Cardinals after being drafted fifth overall out of LSU in 2011. He has never missed a game due to injury. His only career absences came in 2019, due to a six-game suspension by the NFL for violating the league’s performance-enhancing drug policy. Peterson had three of his 28 career interceptions in 2020.

Though he’s past his prime at age 30, Peterson will bring some badly needed experience to a cornerback group that went through significant growing and injury pains last year. The top two players at the position are Cameron Dantzler and Jeff Gladney, both rookies in 2020 who while showing some promise were picked on often. Mike Hughes, the first-round draft pick in 2018, has had three straight injury-limited seasons. At age 23, Hughes was the longest-tenured cornerback on the team last year.

Peterson ought to be a good fit with coach Mike Zimmer, who still calls the defense on gamedays and takes a significant role in cornerback development despite being in charge of the team. Zimmer valued the experience and leadership of veteran cornerbacks in the past like Terence Newman and Xavier Rhodes, but there was no one in the room last season to be the mentor.

As the NFL market officially opened Wednesday, the Vikings confirmed their contracts with free agents defensive tackle Dalvin Tomlinson and backup linebacker Nick Vigil. They also agreed to terms to bring back offensive tackle Rashod Hill, who will compete for a starting spot after the release of Riley Reiff, and wide receiver Chad Beebe for depth.

Tomlinson was the most significant addition on a two-year deal worth up to $22 million, after playing his first four seasons with the New York Giants. The Vikings need some better run-stoppers, after their defense fell apart in 2020 and Zimmer said late in the year it was the worst one he’s ever had in his career.

Vigil played last season with the Los Angeles Chargers, after four years with the Cincinnati Bengals. He has played in 69 career games with 39 starts, including all 16 games for the Bengals in 2019 when he posted a personal-best 111 tackles.

To make room under their salary cap for these deals, the Vikings had to release Reiff, tight end Kyle Rudolph, kicker Dan Bailey and defensive tackle Shamar Stephen. They reworked their contracts with punter Britton Colquitt and linebacker Anthony Barr for additional space.

Cards add WR A.J. Green, C Rodney Hudson to boost offense

(AP) The Arizona Cardinals made a trio of big offseason moves on Wednesday, adding seven-time Pro Bowl receiver A.J. Green on a one-year deal, trading for three-time Pro Bowl center Rodney Hudson and signing two-time Pro Bowl kicker Matt Prater.

The Cardinals acquired Hudson and a seventh-round pick in the upcoming draft from the Raiders and will send a third-round pick back to Las Vegas.

The 32-year-old Green gets about $8 million. He has played nine seasons in the NFL, all for the Cincinnati Bengals. He made the Pro Bowl in each of his first seven seasons from 2011 to 2017. Green missed the entire 2019 season with an ankle injury but returned in 2020 and caught 47 passes for 523 yards and two touchdowns.

With the Cardinals, Green will team with DeAndre Hopkins, who caught 115 passes for 1,407 yards and six touchdowns last year. Arizona is still waiting for word if receiver Larry Fitzgerald will return for his 18th season or retire.

In six seasons with the Raiders, Hudson has been the anchor of what has been one of the better offensive lines in the league. He made Pro Bowls in 2016, ’17 and ’19 and was a second-team All-Pro in 2019 as well. He played in 94% of the team’s offensive snaps, missing only three games in 2015 and one in 2019. He played every snap in each of the other four seasons.

Hudson has been an elite pass-blocking center, working closely with quarterback Derek Carr on handling the protection schemes before each snap.

In Arizona, he’ll be charged with keeping third-year quarterback Kyler Murray from getting hit as the Cardinals try to push for the playoffs for the first time since 2015.

In 3,703 pass blocking snaps with the Raiders, Hudson has allowed only three sacks and six quarterback hits, according to Pro Football Focus. He also has been penalized just seven times in the past four seasons.

The 36-year-old Prater, who kicked the longest field goal in NFL history, 64 yards, while with Denver in 2013, has spent the past seven seasons with the Detroit Lions. He’s made 321 career field goals and 83.2% of field goal attempts during his 14 years in the league.

AP source: Chiefs agree to deal with Long to help O-line

The Kansas City Chiefs have agreed to a $5 million contract for next season with three-time Pro Bowler Kyle Long, who will come out of retirement to help their rebuilt offensive line, a person familiar with the negotiations told The Associated Press on Wednesday night.

The Chiefs also agreed to one-year deals to keep running back Darrel Williams, linebacker Ben Niemann and defensive end Taco Charlton, sources told The AP. They spoke on condition of anonymity because the deals have not been announced.

The Chiefs tendered wide receiver Byron Pringle and offensive lineman Andrew Wylie as well.

Long, whose deal was first reported by ESPN.com, went to three consecutive Pro Bowls with the Bears before injuries derailed his promising career. First came an ankle injury in 2016, then neck, shoulder and elbow injuries that hampered him the following season. In 2018, it was a foot injury that sidelined Long midway through the season, and a hip injury during the 2019 season landed him on injured reserve for what appeared to be the final time.

But after spending last season doing studio work for CBS, Long decided to make a comeback this offseason. He had visited with the AFC West-rival Raiders before agreeing to a contract with the Chiefs.

Earlier this week, they agreed to an $80 million, five-year contract with former Patriots offensive lineman Joe Thuney, giving them a pair of former Pro Bowl selections to anchor general manager Brett Veach’s reshaped offensive line.

Kansas City was decimated by opt-outs and injuries last season and was ultimately exposed by Tampa Bay in the Super Bowl, making the boys protecting Patrick Mahomes an offseason priority. The rebuild began with releasing injured tackles Eric Fisher and Mitchell Schwartz to create salary cap space, then continued with landing Thuney for a guard spot.

Laurent Duvernay-Tardif is expected to return after opting out of last season, filling the other guard spot. But that still left the Chiefs in search of a center and two tackles. One of those jobs could belong to Lucas Niang, a third-round pick in last year’s draft who opted out of his rookie season because of the pandemic, while it’s possible Long could move to tackle. He started all 16 games on the right side for Chicago during the 2015 season.

Report: Bears’ offer for Wilson included 3 first-round picks

It appears the Chicago Bears’ “aggressive” offer to the Seattle Seahawks for Russel Wilson may have been an unprecedented one.

Chicago’s package for a potential Wilson trade included three first-round picks, a third-rounder, and two starters, a source close to the team told national radio host Dan Patrick.

The offer interested Seattle, but the decision to decline was made by head coach Pete Carroll rather than general manager John Schneider, Patrick adds.

The source didn’t know the starters included in the proposal.

Wilson hasn’t requested a trade from the Seahawks, but he’s gone public this offseason about his displeasure with the number of hits he’s taken behind his offensive line and not being involved in team decisions.

In February, the star quarterback’s agent said his client would waive his no-trade clause for the Bears, Dallas Cowboys, New Orleans Saints, or Las Vegas Raiders.

Chicago quickly pivoted following the rebuffed offer, signing Andy Dalton to a one-year deal Tuesday. However, general manager Ryan Pace may not be finished attempting to upgrade the quarterback position.

Watson facing sexual misconduct lawsuit, says he’ll clear his name

A Houston masseuse filed a lawsuit Tuesday against Texans quarterback Deshaun Watson accusing him of committing civil assault during a March 2020 appointment, according to ESPN’s Sarah Barshop.

The lawsuit alleges that Watson touched the masseuse with his penis and caused the physical contact “intentionally or knowingly.”

Upon learning of the complaint, Watson said he rejected a six-figure settlement demand, has always treated women with the utmost respect, and looks forward to clearing his name.

The alleged incident took place at the plaintiff’s home, where she regularly provides professional massages, according to the lawsuit.

The lawsuit states that at one point, the therapist returned to a room to find Watson laying on a massage table with a small towel over his crotch. She “began to feel extremely uncomfortable” and eventually asked the quarterback to leave.

“It became apparent that Watson wanted a massage for only one reason – sex,” the lawsuit says.

Watson responded with a remark that she considered to be a threat, the lawsuit states. Watson allegedly later apologized to the masseuse via text message.

“We became aware of a civil lawsuit involving Deshaun Watson through a social media post last night,” the Texans said Wednesday in a statement. “This is the first time we heard of the matter, and we hope to learn more soon. We take accusations of this nature that involve anyone within the Houston Texans organization seriously. We will await further information before making any additional statements on this incident.”

Watson, 25, reportedly requested a trade from the Texans several weeks ago after growing discontent with the state of affairs inside the organization.

Ravens lineman arrested in Virginia for property destruction

(AP) A Baltimore Ravens defensive lineman has been arrested in Northern Virginia after police say he was trying to break into parked cars.

Arlington County Police say Broderick Washington, 24, of Baltimore was charged with destruction of property, both as a felony and a misdemeanor, and tampering with a vehicle.

Online court records show he is free on bail and will be arraigned March 31. They do not list an attorney.

A police report issued by police Monday indicates that officers were called to the Dolley Madison Towers off Interstate 395 Sunday at 4:20 a.m. after multiple reports of a man breaking into vehicles with a metal object.

Police say Washington damaged five vehicles as well as the door and window to a residential building before he was arrested without incident.

Washington was a fifth-round draft choice last year out of Texas Tech. He played in eight games and had two tackles.

In a statement, the Ravens said they are aware of the arrest and “have spoken with Broderick about this matter and will continue to monitor the situation.”

Titans sign tight ends Firkser, Swaim to 1-year deals

 (AP) The Tennessee Titans are keeping a pair of tight ends, agreeing to terms with Anthony Firkser and Geoff Swaim on one-year deals each.

The Titans announced the agreements a few minutes after the start of the new NFL year. Keeping Firkser and Swaim is crucial for Tennessee after top tight end Jonnu Smith left for the New England Patriots as a free agent.

Firkser had a career-high 39 catches for 387 yards and one touchdown with only one drop in 2020, and he has started two of his 43 games since signing with the Titans in the 2018 offseason. Firsker has 72 catches for 816 yards and three touchdowns in that span, and he also has seven catches for 89 yards and two TDs in four playoff games.

Swaim started five of 11 games after signing with the Titans before last season. He had nine catches for 83 yards and a touchdown. He was a seventh-round pick of Dallas in 2015, and he also has played with the Jaguars. He has 57 career catches for 484 yards and two touchdowns.

The Titans also announced their trade sending offensive tackle Isaiah Wilson, the 29th pick overall in 2020, and a 2022 seventh-round draft pick to Miami for a seventh-round draft pick in this April’s draft.

OT Nate Solder will return from opt out and play for Giants

(AP) Offensive tackle Nate Solder has renegotiated his contract with the New York Giants and will return to the NFL after opting out of last season because of family concerns about COVID-19.

Solder, who was supposed to earn $9.9 million this season under his old contract, will earn roughly $4 million this season. The length of the new contract was not immediately available.

The Giants also said Wednesday they had re-signed wide receiver C.J. Board, defensive tackle Austin Johnson and long snapper Casey Kreiter.

Wednesday was the opening day of NFL free agency. The Giants helped their salary cap problems by working out a three-year, $63 million deal with defensive lineman Leonard Williams on Tuesday. A person close to the talks said the signing probably won’t be formally announced until later in the week. The person spoke anonymously because contract terms were not released.

The 32-year-old Solder decided not to play last season because he is a testicular cancer survivor and his 5-year-old son has been undergoing treatment for kidney cancer since he was an infant. His wife also had a baby last spring.

Solder joined the Giants in 2018 and started 32 games at left tackle over the next two seasons. First-round draft pick Andrew Thomas took over at left tackle this past season. Either Solder or second-year pro Matt Peart is expected to be the starting right tackle.

Cam Fleming, who started all 16 games at right tackle, is a free agent.

Board played in 14 games last season with four starts. He caught 11 passes for 101 yards, with a long reception of 16 yards.

Johnson, 26, played in all 16 games as a reserve on the defensive line. He could see more playing time this year after the departure of Dalvin Tomlinson, who is joining the Minnesota Vikings. Johnson had 18 tackles, a sack and his first NFL forced fumble.

Kreiter was signed as a free agent last season and was the snapper on punts and place kicks in all 16 games. He spent the previous four seasons in Denver.

AP source: RB Jamaal Williams agrees to sign with Lions

Running back Jamaal Williams has agreed to sign with the Detroit Lions, according to a person familiar with the situation.

The person spoke Monday on condition of anonymity because the team had not announced the deal.

Reports say the unrestricted free agent agreed to a two-year, $7.5 million contract.

The former Green Bay Packer provides a boost for a backfield that also includes D’Andre Swift and Kerryon Johnson.

Green Bay drafted Williams out of BYU in the fourth round in 2017 and he had a solid run with the team. He had 1,985 yards rushing and 10 touchdowns, nearly 1,000 yards receiving and eight scores in his career that includes 20 starts over four seasons.

Williams started in three of 14 games last season. He had 505 yards rushing and two touchdowns and 31 receptions for 236 yards and a score.

Detroit is in the midst of another rebuilding project, giving first-year general manager Brad Holmes and new coach Dan Campbell a chance to turn around a team that lost a total of 33 games the previous three years.

The long-suffering franchise agreed to trade quarterback Matthew Stafford in January to the Los Angeles Rams for quarterback Jared Goff, two first-round draft picks and a third-round pick.

The Lions chose to let standout receiver Kenny Golladay go on the market after deciding not to sign him to a long-term deal or use the franchise tag to retain him for at least another season.

CB Justin Coleman agrees to 1-year contract with Dolphins

(AP) Free agent cornerback Justin Coleman agreed to terms Wednesday on a one-year contract with the Miami Dolphins.

Miami also signed defensive tackle Adam Butler to a two-year deal. He started a total of 12 games the past four seasons with the New England Patriots.

Coleman, a six-year veteran, started five games for the Detroit Lions last year. He has also played for Seattle and New England and has made 29 career starts.

Coleman is expected to compete for playing time as a slot corner for Miami.

Butler started four games last year and had four sacks, including his career sack total to 15. His acquisition helps compensate for Miami’s loss of defensive tackle Davon Godchaux, who signed a two-year deal with the Patriots.

AP source: Chiefs signing Charlton, Williams to 1-year deals

The Kansas City Chiefs are planning to sign defensive lineman Taco Charlton and running back Darrel Williams to one-year deals as the start of free agency approaches Wednesday, a person familiar with the situation told The Associated Press.

The Chiefs also have tendered wide receiver Byron Pringle and offensive lineman Andrew Wylie, according to the person who spoke to the AP on condition of anonymity because deals cannot be completed until later in the day. That’s when the Chiefs can also finalize a five-year, $80 million contract with former Patriots offensive lineman Joe Thuney.

Charlton joined the Chiefs last season after the former first-round pick spent two seasons in Dallas and one in Miami. He started only 12 games during that span, but he appeared to be resurrecting his career in Kansas City, where he rotated with former Michigan teammate Frank Clark before breaking his ankle in a game against Carolina in Week 9.

Williams will get $930,000 guaranteed and up to $2.13 million on his contract, according to The Kansas City Star. The 25-year-old joined the Chiefs as an undrafted free agent in 2018 and has become a dependable change-of-pace back.

His value to the Chiefs was evident when they decided to release Damien Williams, their leading rusher during their 2019 championship season. He was expected to return to the team after opting out of last season due to COVID-19.

The move to tender Pringle, who would get $2.18 million next season unless another team offers a better deal, was widely expected after the former undrafted free agent had a strong season. Along with being a special teams standout, he came back from a season-ending injury in his rookie season to catch 13 passes for 160 yards and a touchdown.

Wylie has also been invaluable as a backup offensive lineman often pressed into service due to injuries.

Last season was a prime example: Wylie was pushed into the starting right guard job after Laurent Duvernay-Tardif opted out, starting 14 regular-season games and all three postseason games. He also has played left guard and tackle in a pinch.

The Chiefs view him as insurance as they rebuild an offensive line that was decimated by opt-outs and injuries last season and ultimately was exposed by Tampa Bay in the Super Bowl. They began by releasing injured veteran tackles Eric Fisher and Mitchell Schwartz to create salary cap space, then struck a deal with Thuney to plug the hole at one guard spot.

Duvernay-Tardif is expected to return next season, filling the other guard spot. But that still leaves the Chiefs in search of a center and two tackles. One of those jobs could belong to Lucas Niang, a third-round pick in last year’s draft who opted out of playing his rookie season because of the pandemic.

49ers hand Trent Williams richest contract ever at OL

(AP) The San Francisco 49ers locked up their biggest potential free agent for the long term by agreeing to give star left tackle Trent Williams the richest contract ever for an offensive lineman.

Williams’ agents at Elite Loyalty Sports say the deal agreed to early Wednesday will pay Williams $138.1 million over the next six years, surpassing the $138 million deal David Bakhtiari got from Green Bay during last season. Williams also will get the biggest signing bonus ever for an offensive lineman at $30.1 million, as well as $55.1 million guaranteed.

The Niners finalized the deal just hours before Williams could have left to sign with another team at the start of the new league year.

The contract is a staggering reward for Williams, who sat out the entire 2019 season in Washington over a dispute with the front office before reviving his career in San Francisco.

He showed a few signs of rust early but quickly got back to his usual form and earned his eighth Pro Bowl selection. Williams was graded as the top left tackle by Pro Football Focus and is now being paid that way as well.

The 49ers had a disappointing 2020, winning just six games following a trip to the Super Bowl the previous season. But they pinned many of the troubles to injuries that sidelined quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo and other key players like tight end George Kittle and edge rusher Nick Bosa for large portions of the season.

Coach Kyle Shanahan and general manager John Lynch already have kept several potential free agents, agreeing to deals with versatile fullback Kyle Juszczyk, as well as cornerbacks Jason Verrett and Emmanuel Moseley.

But the biggest piece was Williams, who will anchor an offensive line that struggled at several of the other spots last season. San Francisco also wants to upgrade at center, with starter Weston Richburg not expected to return from an injury that sidelined him for the entire 2020 season.

The Niners acquired Williams from Washington during last year’s draft for a 2020 fifth-round pick and 2021 third-rounder.

Williams had sat out the entire 2019 season in Washington. He was at odds with the organization when he refused to play because he said he distrusted the medical staff and front office because of a botched cancer diagnosis.

He ended his holdout and hoped to be traded before the deadline, but a deal never happened. Williams was banished from the facility by former team president Bruce Allen.

Williams thought there was a chance to stay when coach Ron Rivera was hired and there was an overhaul to the organization. But ultimately Williams wanted out and was traded to San Francisco, where he reunited with Shanahan, who was the offensive coordinator in Washington for his first four seasons.

AP source: Raiders sign WR John Brown to 1-year deal

(AP) — The Las Vegas Raiders have agreed to a one-year contract with free agent receiver John Brown to replace the departing Nelson Agholor.

A person familiar with the deal says the sides agreed on the deal Wednesday. The person spoke on condition of anonymity because the contract hadn’t been signed.

Brown will earn $3.75 million with incentives that could raise it to $5.5 million, according to SiriusXM NFL Radio’s Adam Caplan, who first reported the deal.

The Raiders also reached agreements to re-sign versatile offensive lineman Denzelle Good to a two-year contract and reserve receiver Zay Jones to a one-year deal, according to two people familiar with the deals who spoke on condition of anonymity because the signings hadn’t been announced.

The Raiders were seeking a veteran deep threat at receiver after Agholor left in free agency to New England and hope they found the answer in Brown.

Brown, who turns 31 in April, is coming off the second-least productive season of his career as he was limited to nine games because of knee and ankle injuries and got fewer targets because of the addition of Stefon Diggs in Buffalo.

Brown had 33 catches for 458 yards and three touchdowns last season to go along with 10 catches for 86 yards in three playoff games.

The Raiders are hoping for better production from Brown in 2021 with better health and a bigger role on an offense with fewer proven wide receivers.

Brown joins second-year players Henry Ruggs III and Bryan Edwards, and third-year slot receiver Hunter Renfrow as the top options at the position in Las Vegas.

Ruggs and Edwards struggled as rookies with Ruggs catching just 26 passes and Edwards only 11 last season. Renfrow has 105 catches in two seasons but is mostly limited to slot duty.

The speedy Brown offers a deep threat with his 14.8 yards per reception ranking eighth in the NFL among players with at least 200 catches since 2014, with his average catch coming 11.1 yards downfield to rank sixth best.

AP source: Bills agree to sign receiver Emmanuel Sanders

(AP) The Buffalo Bills have reached an agreement to sign veteran receiver Emmanuel Sanders, a person with direct knowledge of the move confirmed with the The Associated Press on Wednesday.

The agreement is pending Sanders passing a physical, the person said. The person spoke on the condition of anonymity because the receiver hasn’t been officially released by New Orleans, a day after Saints GM Mickey Loomis announced the team is terminating the player’s contract.

WHAM-TV in Rochester, New York, first reported the agreement on Tuesday.

Sanders, who turned 34 on Wednesday, is an 11-year veteran and preparing to join his fourth team in three years. He’s an established possession receiver, and will be given the chance to replace John Brown, who was cut last week to free up salary cap space.

Sanders joins an established mix in Buffalo’s Josh Allen-led passing attack, which includes Stefon Diggs, Cole Beasley and Gabriel Davis. The Bills finished 13-3 and set numerous passing and scoring records in clinching their first AFC East title in 25 years and reaching the conference championship game for the first time since the 1993 season.

Sanders had 61 catches for 726 yards and five touchdowns in his one season with the Saints last year.

After spending his first four NFL seasons in Pittsburgh, Sanders signed with Denver in 2014, where he enjoyed his best production. Sanders topped 75 catches and 1,000 yards receiving in each of his first three seasons in Denver, and was a member of the Broncos’ Super Bowl championship team in the 2015 season.

Among active receivers, Sanders ranks 10th with 662 catches and 11th with 8,619 yards, while scoring 48 touchdowns (including one rushing) in 158 games.

AP source: Washington adding CB Jackson on $42M, 3-year deal

(AP) — Washington dipped into the free agent pool and spent significant money to fill a void at cornerback.

The team reached an agreement to sign William Jackson to a contract worth $42 million over three years with $26 million guaranteed, according to a person with knowledge of the deal. The person spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity Wednesday because the team does not release contract terms.

The deal, like all others, cannot be signed until the new league year opens at 4 p.m. EDT on Wednesday.

Jackson replaces Ronald Darby, who left to join the Denver Broncos. The 28-year-old Jackson joins Washington after four seasons with the Bengals, during which he had three interceptions in 59 games, including 48 starts.

Washington also re-signed reserve running back Lamar Miller to a one-year contract, agent Drew Rosenhaus confirmed in an email to the AP.

Earlier this week, the team agreed to sign veteran quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick. Washington went into free agency with almost $39 million in cap space, among the most in the NFL.

Washington is still in need of a No. 2 wide receiver to complement Terry McLaurin and is also looking for a linebacker after losing starter Kevin Pierre-Louis in free agency.

Another hole that must be filled is long snapper, after Nick Sundberg said he was informed by coach Ron Rivera he isn’t in the team’s plans moving forward. Sundberg was the organization’s longest-tenured player, spending the past 11 seasons with Washington.

“I understand this is a business but I’m still sad to close this long chapter,” Sundberg said on Twitter. “I look forward to the next opportunity in my career, wherever that may be.”

NFL TRANSACTIONS WEDNESDAY

MAR 17 2021

Byron Pringle, WR

Assigned a 1 year $3.384 million tender by Kansas City (KC)

MAR 17 2021

Ike Boettger, G

Assigned a 1 year $2.133 million tender by Buffalo (BUF)

MAR 17 2021

Kyle Van Noy, ILB

Signed a 2 year $13.2 million contract with New England (NE)

MAR 17 2021

Rashard Higgins, WR

Signed a 1 year $2.38 million contract with Cleveland (CLE)

MAR 17 2021

Denzelle Good, T

Signed a 2 year $8.36 million contract extension with Las Vegas (LV)

MAR 17 2021

Ifeadi Odenigbo, DE

Signed a 1 year $2.5 million contract with New York (NYG)

MAR 17 2021

Patrick Peterson, CB

Signed a 1 year $10 million contract with Minnesota (MIN)

MAR 17 2021

Gabe Jackson, G

Traded to Seattle (SEA) from Las Vegas (LV) for 2021 5th round pick

MAR 17 2021

Adrian Amos, FS

Converted a $1.5M roster bonus into signing bonus, clearing $750,000 of cap space with Green Bay (GB)

MAR 17 2021

Tavierre Thomas, CB

Signed a 2 year $4 million contract with Houston (HOU)

MAR 17 2021

Curtis Samuel, WR

Signed a 3 year $34.5 million contract with Washington (WAS)

MAR 17 2021

Jourdan Lewis, CB

Signed a 3 year $16.5 million contract with Dallas (DAL)

MAR 17 2021

Ryan Succop, K

Signed a 3 year $12 million contract with Tampa Bay (TB)

MAR 17 2021

Gerald Everett, TE

Signed a 1 year $6 million contract with Seattle (SEA)

MAR 17 2021

Morgan Fox, DE

Signed a 2 year $8.5 million contract with Carolina (CAR)

MAR 17 2021

Samaje Perine, RB

Signed a 2 year contract with Cincinnati (CIN)

MAR 17 2021

Quinton Jefferson, DT

Signed a 1 year $3.25 million contract with Las Vegas (LV)

MAR 17 2021

Mike Boone, RB

Signed a contract with Denver (DEN)

MAR 17 2021

Matt Prater, K

Signed a 2 year $7 million contract with Arizona (ARI)

MAR 17 2021

Aaron Stinnie, G

Signed a 1 year $1.25 million contract with Tampa Bay (TB)

MAR 17 2021

Cody Davis, FS

Signed a 2 year $4.3 million contract with New England (NE)

MAR 17 2021

Johnathan Hankins, DT

Signed a 1 year $3.5 million contract with Las Vegas (LV)

MAR 17 2021

Adam Butler, DT

Signed a 2 year $7.5 million contract with Miami (MIA)

MAR 17 2021

Malik Jackson, DT

Designated a Post June 1st release by Philadelphia (PHI), clearing $2M of cap on June 2nd

MAR 17 2021

Alshon Jeffery, WR

Designated a Post June 1st release by Philadelphia (PHI), clearing $2.1M of cap on June 2nd

MAR 17 2021

Levi Wallace, CB

Signed a 1 year contract with Buffalo (BUF)

MAR 17 2021

Josh Oliver, TE

Traded to Baltimore (BAL) from Jacksonville (JAC) for 2022 7th round pick

MAR 17 2021

Briean Boddy-Calhoun, S

Signed a 1 year contract with San Francisco (SF)

MAR 17 2021

Daniel Helm, TE

Signed a 1 year contract with San Francisco (SF)

MAR 17 2021

Morgan Cox, LS

Signed a 1 year $1.2 million contract with Tennessee (TEN)

MAR 17 2021

Kyle Long, G

Signed a 1 year $5 million contract with Kansas City (KC)

MAR 17 2021

Malcolm Smith, OLB

Signed a 1 year contract with Cleveland (CLE)

MAR 17 2021

Solomon Thomas, DE

Signed a 1 year $5 million contract with Las Vegas (LV)

MAR 17 2021

Tae Davis, LB

Signed a 1 year contract with Houston (HOU)

MAR 17 2021

Haason Reddick, OLB

Signed a 1 year $8 million contract with Carolina (CAR)

MAR 17 2021

Andrew Brown, DE

Claimed off waivers by Indianapolis (IND)

MAR 17 2021

Robert Foster, WR

Signed a 1 year contract with Miami (MIA)

MAR 17 2021

D.J. Jones, DT

Signed a 1 year contract with San Francisco (SF)

MAR 17 2021

Ryan Neal, CB

Assigned a 1 year tender by Seattle (SEA)

MAR 17 2021

L.J. Fort, ILB

Released by Baltimore (BAL)

MAR 17 2021

Tony Brown, CB

Signed a contract with Cincinnati (CIN)

MAR 17 2021

Matt Gono, T

Assigned a 1 year $3.384 million tender by Atlanta (ATL)

MAR 17 2021

Deon Bush, S

Signed a 1 year contract with Chicago (CHI)

MAR 17 2021

Zach Fulton, G

Released by Houston (HOU), clearing $3M of cap

MAR 17 2021

Alex Mack, C

Signed a 1 year $5.5 million contract with San Francisco (SF)

MAR 17 2021

Richie Incognito, G

Signed a 1 year $2.62 million contract with Las Vegas (LV)

MAR 17 2021

Ben Niemann, LB

Signed a 1 year contract with Kansas City (KC)

MAR 17 2021

Marquise Goodwin, WR

Released by San Francisco (SF), clearing $4.5M of cap

MAR 17 2021

Charvarius Ward, CB

Assigned a 1 year $3.384 million tender by Kansas City (KC)

MAR 17 2021

Aldrick Rosas, K

Signed a contract with Jacksonville (JAC)

MAR 17 2021

James O’Shaughnessy, TE

Signed a contract with Jacksonville (JAC)

MAR 17 2021

Cameron Nizialek, K

Waived by Jacksonville (JAC)

MAR 17 2021

Josh Nurse, CB

Waived by Jacksonville (JAC)

MAR 17 2021

Dontavius Russell, DT

Waived by Jacksonville (JAC)

MAR 17 2021

Gabe Wright, DT

Waived by Jacksonville (JAC)

MAR 17 2021

Marlon Mack, RB

Signed a 1 year $2 million contract with Indianapolis (IND)

MAR 17 2021

Al Woods, DT

Released by Jacksonville (JAC), clearing $1.7M of cap

MAR 17 2021

Craig Reynolds, RB

Waived by Jacksonville (JAC)

MAR 17 2021

Chad Beebe, WR

Signed a 1 year contract with Minnesota (MIN)

MAR 17 2021

Denzel Perryman, ILB

Signed a 2 year contract with Carolina (CAR)

MAR 17 2021

Chris Jones, P

Released by Dallas (DAL), clearing $2M of space

MAR 17 2021

Rodney Hudson, C

Traded to Arizona (ARI) from Las Vegas (LV) with 2021 7th round pick for 2021 3rd round pick

MAR 17 2021

Josh Adams, RB

Signed a contract with New York (NYJ)

MAR 17 2021

Jayon Brown, ILB

Signed a 1 year $5.25 million contract extension with Tennessee (TEN)

MAR 17 2021

Adrian Killins, RB

Signed a 2 year contract with Philadelphia (PHI)

MAR 17 2021

Zay Jones, WR

Signed a 1 year contract extension with Las Vegas (LV)

MAR 17 2021

A.J. Green          

A.J. Green, WR

Signed a 1 year $6 million contract with Arizona (ARI)

MAR 17 2021

J.C. Jackson, CB

Assigned a 1 year $3.384 million tender by New England (NE)

MAR 17 2021

Nicholas Morrow, OLB

Signed a 1 year $4.5 million contract extension with Las Vegas (LV)

MAR 17 2021

Ted Karras, C

Signed a 1 year $4 million contract with New England (NE)

MAR 17 2021

Za’Darius Smith, OLB

Converted $14.26 million of 2021 salary into bonus, clearing $7.38M of cap space with Green Bay (GB)

MAR 17 2021

Tyeler Davison, DT

Accepted a $2M pay cut, guaranteeing $500,000 in return with Atlanta (ATL)

MAR 17 2021

Anthony Firkser, FB

Signed a 1 year contract extension with Tennessee (TEN)

MAR 17 2021

Justin Coleman, CB

Signed a 1 year $2.75 million contract with Miami (MIA)

MAR 17 2021

Rashaan Melvin, CB

Released by Jacksonville (JAC), clearing $1.1M of cap

MAR 17 2021

John Brown, WR

Signed a 1 year $3.75 million contract with Las Vegas (LV)

MAR 17 2021

David Sharpe, T

Signed a 1 year contract with Washington (WAS)

MAR 17 2021

Lamar Miller, RB

Signed a 1 year contract with Washington (WAS)

MAR 17 2021

William Jackson, CB

Signed a 3 year $40.5 million contract with Washington (WAS)

MAR 17 2021

Mo Alie-Cox, TE

Assigned a 1 year $3.384 million tender by Indianapolis (IND)

MAR 17 2021

Poona Ford, DT

Signed a 2 year $14 million contract extension with Seattle (SEA)

MAR 17 2021

Jihad Ward, DE

Signed a 1 year $2.5 million contract with Jacksonville (JAC)

MAR 17 2021

Jamaal Williams, RB

Signed a 2 year $7.5 million contract with Detroit (DET)

MAR 17 2021

Michael Brockers, DT

Traded to Detroit (DET) from Los Angeles (LAR) for 2023 7th round pick

MAR 17 2021

Pharaoh Brown, TE

Signed a 1 year $2.2 million contract with Houston (HOU)

MAR 17 2021

Trent Williams, LT

Signed a 6 year $138.06 million contract with San Francisco (SF)

Antetokounmpo lifts Bucks to 109-105 OT victory over 76ers

Giannis Antetokounmpo came up big in overtime, and then took a seat – right on the court.

Antetokounmpo scored 10 of his 32 points in the extra session to lead the Milwaukee Bucks to a 109-105 victory over the Philadelphia 76ers on Wednesday night in a matchup of two of the Eastern Conference’s best teams.

After being hounded by Philadelphia All-Star Ben Simmons for most of the game, Antetokounmpo found his offense late with Simmons in foul trouble.

He scored 10 straight Bucks points, the last a 10-foot jumper in the lane that pushed Milwaukee’s lead to 105-98 with 1:11 left in overtime. He sat on the court near the 76ers bench after the bucket, drawing boos from the fans.

“I haven’t seen that, that’s what I felt like I wanted to do at the time,” he said. “I was just trying to have fun and enjoy the moment.”

The 76ers weren’t thrilled with the show of joy.

“I wanted to go and Stone Cold Stunner him, but I already had one tech,” Philadelphia’s Dwight Howard said. “He had a hell of a game. I don’t want to talk trash or say anything negative, but we’ll see him again.”

With P.J. Tucker reportedly headed to Milwaukee in a trade with Houston, Donte DiVincenzo scored 20 points and Jrue Holiday added 19 for the Bucks, who have won five in a row and 10 of 11.

Milwaukee’s D.J. Augustin and D.J. Wilson, who according to ESPN will be traded to the Rockets, did not play. Torrey Craig, reportedly headed to Phoenix in a separate deal to clear salary space for Tucker, also sat out.

Antetokounmpo finished with 15 rebounds and five assists, ending a streak of three straight triple-doubles. The two-time MVP had just four points and four shots, including a 3-point attempt that was woefully short, in the opening 24 minutes.

“I wasn’t having fun,” he said.

James Harden has triple-double, short-handed Nets top Pacers

(AP) Brooklyn Nets coach Steve Nash insists he will never take for granted how James Harden can take control of a game.

Harden did that with 40 points, 15 assists and 10 rebounds for his 11th triple-double of the season, leading Brooklyn to a 124-115 victory over the Indiana Pacers on Wednesday night.

The All-Star guard often demanded double teams in the final quarter, yet still delivered with 14 points, six rebounds and four assists. The Nets outscored the Pacers 35-24 in the fourth.

“It’s a remarkable performance,” Nash said. “He made some huge plays down the stretch. … All the other guys played their part, but James was the main guy, as we’ve come to expect.”

The Nets were without fellow All-Stars Kyrie Irving (groin) and Kevin Durant (hamstring) and newcomer Blake Griffin (knee).

Harden was 13 of 27 from the field and 12 of 14 at the line. When he wasn’t shooting, he set up open teammates driving to the basket, often for dunks and layups.

“Harden was just doing his thing,” said the Pacers’ Domantas Sabonis.

Harden hit a runner in the lane to tie it at 96 early in the fourth. That started a 13-4 run that included a Harden 3-pointer and another layup that pushed it to 109-100.

“We just kept fighting and showed resilience,” Harden said.

The performance was reminiscent of rallying from a 24-point deficit for a win at Phoenix without Irving and Durant.

“I don’t want to be down,” Harden said with a chuckle. “Obviously, we don’t want to get used to having K.D. and Kyrie out of the lineup, but if we do, guys have got to be ready to step up.”

Joe Harris added 19 points for the Nets, and Jeff Green and Tyler Johnson each had 15.

Malcolm Brogdon led Indiana with 24 points, Sabonis had a triple-double with 18 points, 11 rebounds, and 11 assists.

“All four games after the break in the fourth quarter, we’ve struggled,” Sabonis said. “I don’t know. We’re not getting stops when we need to.”

Milwaukee Bucks acquiring P.J. Tucker from Houston Rockets, sources say

The Milwaukee Bucks are acquiring Houston Rockets forward P.J. Tucker in a trade to fortify the franchise’s playoff push in the Eastern Conference, sources told ESPN.

Bucks general manager Jon Horst had been persistent in his pursuit of Tucker in recent weeks, and a deal was struck with Rockets GM Rafael Stone late Wednesday afternoon, sources said.

The Bucks are sending guard D.J. Augustin and forward D.J. Wilson to the Rockets for Tucker and forward Rodions Kurucs, sources said. The key to completing the deal includes the redirecting of draft picks the two teams had previously traded in the offseason. Houston is pushing back the 2022 first-round pick Milwaukee owes it to the unprotected 2023 draft, sources said. The Rockets get the right to swap their 2021 second-round pick for the Bucks’ 2021 first-round pick — unless the Bucks’ pick somehow falls 1-9, sources said.

Essentially, the Bucks will be moving back a few slots from the end of the first round — where they will presumably be picking this season — to the top of the second round, where the Rockets — who own the second-worst record in the league — appear destined to land.

Milwaukee is also trading forward Torrey Craig to the Phoenix Suns in a separate deal, sources said. The Suns aren’t sending a player back to the Bucks in the deal for Craig, sources said. Craig was unable to find a rotational role in Milwaukee after leaving the  Denver Nuggets to sign a free-agent deal in the offseason, but he arrives in Phoenix with defensive versatility and a playoff-tested pedigree.

Tucker, 35, is the key to the trade for the Bucks, who were determined to add his defensive grit and playoff experience to their playoff push. Tucker and the Rockets recently decided that he would step away from the team until a trade could be found. The Rockets, beset with injuries and an 18-game losing streak, are moving into rebuilding mode. The Bucks are 26-14, 1½ games behind Philadelphia and Brooklyn at the top of the Eastern Conference. They’ve won 10 of their past 11 games, including a 109-105 overtime win against the 76ers on Wednesday night.

Sabres fire coach Krueger while in midst of 12-game skid

(AP) Twelve consecutive losses – and no indication of the skid ending any time soon – were enough for Buffalo Sabres first-year general manager Kevyn Adams to fire coach Ralph Krueger on Wednesday.

The Sabres made the move the morning after a 3-2 loss at New Jersey, against a Devils team that snapped an 11-game home skid.

“For me, this is about results that haven’t been good enough,” Adams said. “This is about how do we improve. I believe every crisis is an opportunity for change. And this is a chance for us to move forward and begin to get this thing pointed in the right direction.”

Assistant coach Don Granato takes over on an interim basis, with Adams planning to conduct an extensive offseason search for a full-time replacement. Granato has no NHL head coaching experience, and joined Krueger’s staff after spending two seasons as an assistant coach in Chicago.

Assistant Mike Smith was also fired, and replaced by the Sabres promoting development coaches Matt Ellis and Dan Girardi.

Krueger’s firing comes two weeks after Adams said he was evaluating the entire operation, including the coach, with the Sabres in jeopardy of extending their playoff drought to an NHL record-matching 10th season.

Adams, on Wednesday, indicated more changes are coming in regards to the roster with the NHL trade deadline on April 12. Adams said “he’s open to anything and everything,” when specifically asked whether he would consider trading forward Taylor Hall, who is completing a one-year contract.

Buffalo’s 0-10-2 streak matches the third worst in team history, and it’s the longest since a team-record 14 straight losses midway through the 2014-15 season. At 6-18-4, the Sabres rank last in the NHL in victories and points, and they have been shut out as many times as they’ve won this season.

Krueger is the third NHL coach to be fired during this shortened 56-game season with all divisional play. He’s the first outside the North Division, which has seen Montreal let go of Claude Julien and Calgary replace Geoff Ward with two-time Stanley Cup-winning coach Darryl Sutter.

Braves have eyes on the prize after just missing out in 2020

ATLANTA (AP) After coming up one win short of the World Series, the Atlanta Braves have only one goal in mind for 2021.

Winning it all.

The Braves finally won a postseason series – two of them, in fact – for the first time since 2001, and they had Los Angeles on the ropes with a 3-1 lead in the NL Championship Series.

Alas, the Dodgers won the final three games and went on to beat the Tampa Bay Rays in the World Series.

For the Braves, the agonizing finish to the pandemic-shortened season merely fueled their determination to win Atlanta’s first Series title since 1995.

The front office did its part to get over the hump, re-signing slugger Marcell Ozuna to a $65-million, four-year contract and bolstering a thin rotation by landing Charlie Morton and Drew Smyly.

“Are we in a competitive championship window?” general manager Alex Anthopoulos said. “Sure, there’s no doubt about it.”

Some things to watch from the Braves in 2021:

POWER PUNCH

Atlanta has one of the most dynamic 1-2 hitting punches in the big leagues with Freeman and Ozuma. Freeman was a runaway choice for the MVP award after bouncing back from a frightening bout with COVID-19 to hit .341 with 13 homers and 53 RBIs. His numbers were greatly helped by the guy hitting behind him. Ozuna nearly won the Triple Crown, leading the league in homers (18) and RBIs (56) while finishing third in average (.338). And don’t forget Ronald Acuna Jr., who battled injuries but still had 14 homers and 29 RBIs in 46 games. The 23-year-old outfielder is just two years removed from a 41-homer, 101-RBI, 37-stolen base campaign.

ACES WILD

The Braves have three potential aces – none older than 27 years old. Max Fried followed up a 17-win season in 2019 by going 7-0 with a 2.25 ERA. He finished fifth in the NL Cy Young balloting. Mike Soroka was an All-Star in 2019 and the opening-day starter last season, but he went down with a torn Achilles in just his third appearance. Soroka will likely begin the season on the DL to make sure he’s fully recovered, but it won’t be long before he rejoins the rotation. And then there’s Ian Anderson, who dazzled in his rookie season by going 3-2 with a 1.95 ERA in six regular-season starts before showing poise beyond his years in the playoffs.

NEW LOOK

The starting rotation was extremely thin last season, so the Braves made an aggressive push to add more depth. Postseason stalwart Morton returned to the organization with a $15 million, one-year deal, while Smyly signed on for one year at $11 million. Combined with the team’s talented young starters, the rotation suddenly looks like one of the best in baseball. On the other hand, the bullpen is a bit of a question mark after being a huge strength in 2020. Closer Mark Melancon (11 saves) left in free agency, and there’s no one else on the roster who had more than one save last season. Former Giants closer Will Smith is an obvious candidate, but he surrendered seven homes in just 16 innings. Chris Martin, Tyler Matzek and A.J. Minter all have the potential to finish out games in what could be a closer-by-committee approach from manager Brian Snitker.

ROOKIES TO WATCH

CF Cristian Pache impressed last season after a late-season call-up, starting six games in the NLCS. Even though he’s got scant experience above Double-A, the Braves are confident that the 22-year-old is ready for the big leagues. He certainly showed off his enticing talents against the Dodgers with a second-deck homer and an above-the-wall catch. Pache is battling for the starting job against former All-Star Ender Inciarte, who has been plagued by injuries and is coming off the worst season of his career.

FANS IN THE STANDS

The Braves are planning to allow 33% capacity – about 13,500 fans per game – at Truist Park to start the season. Team officials will review the seating plan after each homestand and make adjustments as needed to ensure fan safety. No fans were allowed in MLB stadium during the 2020 regular season because of the pandemic, though hundreds of Braves’ backers gathered on a lawn outside their ballpark to watch the Braves’ playoff run on a giant video board. Matzek looks forward to having them closer to the action in 2021. “We have great fans,” the reliever said. “I can’t wait for them to be in the stadium with us this year.”

Ross thinks Chicago Cubs lineup will rebound in full season

CHICAGO (AP) When it comes to all the questions surrounding the Chicago Cubs these days, there is at least one that doesn’t seem to be bothering David Ross very much.

The second-year manager thinks his team’s biggest offensive stars will rebound over the course of a more conventional season.

“I think when this team’s rolling, it’s as good as anybody in the league, especially offensively,” Ross said. “The back of the baseball cards, if you lined them up, that’s a pretty nice, deep lineup that we have. So I’m extremely confident in that, and I think that it’ll show in their production how good that we can be when they’re all rolling.”

That rarely happened last year, when Chicago won the NL Central despite a .220 team batting average during the pandemic-shortened season. The offensive woes continued in the playoffs, with the Cubs managing just one run during an opening-round sweep by the Marlins.

Javier Baez hit just .203 and struck out 75 times in 59 games. Bothered by injuries for much of the year, Kris Bryant finished with career lows in batting average (.206), on-base percentage (.293) and slugging percentage (.351). Anthony Rizzo batted .222 for his lowest average since his rookie year in 2011.

“I don’t want to even talk about last year. It was frustrating to me, to a lot of players,” Baez said. “It was two months of baseball that I felt in a rush. I felt like I didn’t have time to make adjustments.”

As Baez, Bryant and Rizzo look to regain their form, their contract situations add another variable to the landscape. Each of the three sluggers is eligible for free agency after this season, putting new president of baseball operations Jed Hoyer in a tricky spot.

Heading into his seventh big league season, Bryant said he is staying with the same approach he has employed all along.

“My whole life, this has been who I am. I don’t want to put too much on myself, any more pressure,” the 2016 NL MVP said. “It’s just every year, I want to go out there and dominate. That’s just who I’ve always been and that’s what drives me.”

NEW LOOK

The rotation is a concern after Yu Darvish was traded to San Diego in December, and Jon Lester, Tyler Chatwood and Jose Quintana departed in free agency. Darvish went 8-3 with a 2.01 ERA in 12 starts last year, finishing second in the NL Cy Young Award race.

Kyle Hendricks and Alec Mills are back. Zach Davies, who was acquired in the Darvish deal with the Padres, fills one slot, and Jake Arrieta returns for a second stint in Chicago. Trevor Williams is looking to bounce back after he had a 6.18 ERA in 11 starts for Pittsburgh last year.

ROOKIES TO WATCH

Adbert Alzolay could be used in a variety of roles after the 26-year-old right-hander went 1-1 with a 2.95 ERA in six appearances last year, including four starts.

JOC’S TIME

Joc Pederson takes over in left after agreeing to a $7 million, one-year contract. He replaces Kyle Schwarber, who signed a $10 million, one-year deal with Washington after he was cut loose by Chicago in December.

Pederson, who turns 29 in April, hit .190 with seven homers and 16 RBIs last season for the World Series champion Dodgers. But he set career highs with a .249 batting average, 36 homers and 74 RBIs in 2019.

WORTH WATCHING

Nico Hoerner had a strong spring training in his bid to earn regular playing time at second base. After an impressive big league debut in 2019, the 23-year-old Hoerner hit just .222 last year. If he can carry over his solid camp into this season, he could give Chicago’s lineup a big lift as the Cubs try to make it back to the playoffs for the sixth time in seven years.

Springer, Semien add veteran presence to Jays’ young core

TORONTO (AP) Already loaded with young talent, the Toronto Blue Jays spent big this winter to add outfielder George Springer and infielder Marcus Semien, a pair of playoff-tested veterans with MVP credentials.

Inspired by those two signings, brash Blue Jays shortstop Bo Bichette is talking title.

“If we go home without a trophy, that’ll be disappointing,” Bichette said.

A World Series winner with Houston in 2017, Springer admired Toronto’s young core from afar while with the Astros, taking note of youthful sluggers Bichette, Vladimir Guerrero Jr., and Cavan Biggio.

Now that Springer has seen the Blue Jays youngsters up close, he’s even more impressed.

“They’re very advanced,” Springer said. “They’re advanced in their preparation, advanced in how they work, understanding what they need to do. I know it’s early but I’m very excited.”

The Blue Jays were among the busiest teams on the free-agent market. Besides signing Springer to a team-record $150 million, six-year contract and Semien to an $18 million, one-year deal, Toronto also gave contracts to a trio of right-hander relievers; a $5.5 million, one-year deal with likely closer Kirby Yates; a $3 million, one-year contract with Tyler Chatwood, and a $1.75 million, one-year contract with David Phelps.

Toronto also acquired left-hander Steven Matz in a trade with the New York Mets.

“It’s an exciting time to have the Blue Jays adding pieces,” Semien said. “With this young group and the new pieces we have, we’re just going to have to learn how to play together and it’ll be a beautiful thing.”

Infielder Joe Panik was with the Blue Jays in 2020, when they finished 32-28 and qualified for the expanded postseason. Panik, who won the World Series with San Francisco in 2014, said he’s enjoyed watching the Jays develop from youthful upstarts into pennant contenders.

“Our time to win is now,” Panik said. “We know we have the talent, we have the experience. Now’s the time, our window of opportunity is open.”

PITCHING QUESTIONS

While the offense looks stacked, the Blue Jays don’t have a dominant pitching staff to match. Left-hander Hyun Jin Ryu is the dependable ace, but there are questions about what Toronto will get from Matz, left-hander Robbie Ray, and right-hander Tanner Roark.

An NL All-Star in 2017, Ray posted an ugly 6.62 ERA with Arizona and Toronto last season. Ray re-signed early in the offseason and has worked with Blue Jays pitching coach Pete Walker. So far, the results are encouraging: Ray had a 2.18 ERA through three spring starts.

NEW LOOK

Springer will likely make most of his starts in center field, while Semien is moving from shortstop to second base to accommodate Bichette. Guerrero moved from third base to first base in 2020 and will play mostly first this season, with Cavan Biggio moving from second to third. Yates replaces Ken Giles as closer, with newcomers Chatwood and Phelps joining holdovers Rafael Dolis and Jordan Romano in set-up roles.

ROOKIES TO WATCH

Catcher Alejandro Kirk, 22, hadn’t played above Class-A before last season but excelled at the alternate training site and reached the majors in September, even making a postseason start at DH. Kirk continued to impress this spring, starting 5-for-10 with four RBIs in six games. Barring injury, or the Blue Jays carrying three catchers, keeping Kirk could mean losing three-year veteran Reese McGuire, who is out of options.

ONE MORE WITH MONTOYO

The Blue Jays picked up the 2022 option on manager Charlie Montoyo’s contract midway through camp. Montoyo replaced John Gibbons after the 2018 season and is 99-123 as Toronto’s manager.

“He’s very steady in-game,” general manager Ross Atkins said. “His instincts are incredible. I couldn’t be happier working alongside him.”

LOST IN MIGRATION

Still unable to play in Canada because of COVID-19, the Blue Jays will begin the season at their spring training facility in Dunedin, Florida. If Toronto still isn’t an option once the heat and thunderstorms of summer arrive, one alternative could be a return to Buffalo, New York, their “home” in 2020. The hope is that mass vaccinations on both sides of the closed U.S.-Canada border will allow the Blue Jays to go back to Toronto before season’s end.

Automated strike zone coming to minors but a while from MLB

NEW YORK (AP) — If a minor league player says an umpire is acting like a robot this year, he might be right.

Computer umpires for balls and strikes are coming to a low-level minor league but are a while away from the big leagues.

Major League Baseball plans to use Automated Ball-Strike technology (ABS) in eight of nine ballparks at the Low-A Southeast League, which starts play May 4 across Florida as minor league baseball resumes after a one-year break caused by the coronavirus pandemic.

The Major League Baseball Umpires Association agreed in its labor contract that started in 2020 to cooperate and assist if Commissioner Rob Manfred decides to utilize the system at the major league level. MLB intends to include the subject in talks this year to replace the agreement with the players’ association that expires Dec. 1.

“It’s hard to handicap if, when or how it might be employed at the major league level, because it is a pretty substantial difference from the way the game is called today,” Chris Marinak, MLB’s chief operations and strategy officer, said Wednesday during an on-line presentation on 2021 innovation and fan engagement.

MLB tracks the accuracy of ball-strike calls by its plate umpires but doesn’t release the figures. Umpire Ángel Hernández, in a lawsuit filed against Major League Baseball, said his accuracy on ball-strike calls increased from 92.19% in 2012 to 96.88% in 2016.

The independent Atlantic League became the first American professional league to let a computer call balls and strikes at its All-Star Game in July 2019 and experimented with ABS during the second half of that season. It also was used in the Arizona Fall League for top prospects that year, drawing complaints of its calls of breaking balls.

“The goal here is really to focus on demonstrating system reliability and to start to get more athlete feedback from more players, coaches and umpires,” Marinak said. “The technology is really in pretty good shape.”

Minor league experiments this year also include pitch timers at Triple-A, Double-A and Low-A (15 seconds with bases empty, 20 seconds with runners), a limit of two pickoff attempts per plate appearance at Low-A with an automatic balk for a failed attempt on a third, a requirement pitchers must step off the rubber before pickoffs at High-A, a requirement infielders at Double-A have both feet on the infield dirt and an option to require two infielders on each side of second base; and 18-inch bases instead of 15-inch at Triple-A.

Marinak said players subject to the ABS will be measured before their first game, and the top of the strike zone will be 56% of their height and the bottom 28%. The strike zone will be measured two-dimensionally at the front of home plate.

“We have a significant amount of accuracy in this new system, I think slightly plus or minus 0.1 inches,” he said. “The technology has really matured and gotten to the point where it’s ready to go. The delay in terms of the next step in terms of trying to implement the automated-ball strike system is really getting the players to understand how it works and try to get feedback on the shape and the design of the zone and other sort of behind the scenes features about how the system is sort of structured and communicated with players.

“That’s our main focus now, is trying to widen the audience of players who have used the tool and try to get feedback around how we handle certain circumstances that probably don’t come to mind on a daily basis.”

One concern is what to call a pitch that comes through the strike zone and bounces on the plate, such as a sharp curveball, or a breaking ball at the chin that drops into the zone.

The rule book says the strike zone is square, the area over home plate ranging from the midpoint between a batter’s shoulders and the top of his uniform pants to the hollow beneath the kneecap. Marinak admitted “the zone is not actually called that way.”

“There’s a long history in the game of people just sort of just understanding by their eyes and their feel what’s either a strike and what’s not a strike,” he said. “And I think we have a lot of work to do to decide what is the zone with this automated system? Is it more of an oval-shaped zone, which is more consistent with what’s called today? Is it a square zone? Is it a three-dimensional zone? How does the zone shift from hitter to hitter? Is it literally the zone drawn every single pitch, as is written in the book, or is it a fixed zone that’s based on your height as a hitter, no matter how much you sort of squat down or stand up?”

MLB anticipates also using ABS this season in the Atlantic League, which is now a partner league, and possibly during the Arizona Fall League.

“So there’s a lot of those questions that need to be resolved before it could be used extensively at any sort of major league level. And that’s what our goal is for this year,” Marinak said. “And I just think it’s hard to handicap right now how that process is going to play out, how long it’s going to take, what the feedback from the players is going to be, what the feedback from the umpires is going to be and how we would translate that into a timeline to bring that into the major league level. And then there’s also the question of whether we like the way that it behaves or not or performs. And I think we need to get a better sense of that, as well.”

Moses Wright to miss Georgia Tech’s first-round game in NCAA men’s basketball tournament, sources say

Georgia Tech star Moses Wright, the ACC player of the year, will miss the Yellow Jackets’ first-round game against  Loyola Chicago in the NCAA men’s basketball tournament, sources told ESPN on Wednesday night.

Wright also likely will be out if Tech beats Loyola Chicago and advances to face the winner of  Illinois- Drexel, sources said.

A 6-foot-9 senior big man, Wright was playing as well as anyone in the country over the last few weeks of the regular season. He had 26 points and 10 rebounds against Virginia Tech, followed by 31 points and 16 rebounds against Syracuse, then he went for 29 points, 14 rebounds, five assists and three blocks in a win over Duke.

Wright has averaged 17.4 points, 8.0 rebounds, 2.3 assists and 1.6 blocks per game.

Coach Josh Pastner likely will have to play a smaller lineup for longer stretches on Friday against Cameron Krutwig and Loyola Chicago, as Georgia Tech rarely took Wright off the floor for more than a few minutes per game. Expect 6-foot-10 sophomore Rodney Howard to see an expanded role; he played double-figure minutes just five times this season, but he did see 18 minutes in an ACC tournament win over Miami.

The Yellow Jackets, winners of the ACC tournament, have won eight straight games entering the NCAA tournament.

The news about Wright’s availability was first reported by Stadium.

Zibanejad has 3 goals, 3 assists as Rangers rout Flyers 9-0

(AP) Mika Zibanejad had three goals and three assists in New York’s seven-goal second period, and the Rangers beat the Philadelphia Flyers 9-0 Wednesday night.

Pavel Buchnevich had two goals and two assists – all in the second period – and Brendan Lemieux, Artemi Panarin, Jacob Trouba and Filip Chytil also scored in the Rangers’ most decisive victory since beating New Jersey 9-0 on March 31, 1986. Alexandar Georgiev stopped 26 shots for his sixth career shutout.

“I thought we were ready to go from the start,” said Zibanejad. “It was a great effort, we really played together. . Obviously, we got rewarded, especially in the second period. It was an amazing feeling and a nice win tonight.”

The Rangers were without head coach David Quinn and assistants Jacques Martin, David Oliver and Greg Brown due to NHL COVID-19 protocols. Hartford Wolf Pack head coach Kris Knoblauch and associate head coach Gord Murphy, and Rangers associate general manager Chris Drury were behind the bench.

“You didn’t have much time to think about it,” Knoblauch said when asked about pregame preparation as the acting head coach. “Everything was laid out for us from the coaching staff. When the game started there were some nerves, definitely some excitement. . It’s certainly a night that I will never forget.”

Brian Elliott started in goal for Philadelphia and allowed five goals on 13 shots before being replaced midway through the second period as the Flyers lost for the third time in four games. Carter Hart finished with 12 saves.

“It was embarrassing to be playing on that ice tonight the way we played,” Flyers’ captain Claude Giroux said. “We didn’t help our goalies at all. There’s not a lot of words to say. We know we got to wake up.”

Zibanejad scored three consecutive goals in a 10:10 span of the second for his fifth career hat trick. The Swedish center also topped 400 career points.

Zibanejad converted a short-handed breakaway at 8:27 on the first shot Hart saw in relief of Elliott. Panarin found Zibanejad dashing through the offensive zone on the power play before Zibanejad lifted the puck over Hart’s glove with 5:31 left in the period. Zibanejad completed the natural hat trick with an even-strength goal at with 1:23 remaining to make it 8-0.

Mackenzie Holmes Named Associated Press All-American Honorable Mention

(IU RELEASE)

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. – Indiana sophomore forward Mackenzie Holmes has been named to the Associated Press All-American honorable mention team, announced on Wednesday. Holmes becomes the first AP All-American selection in school history.

Holmes has had a superb campaign for the Hoosiers in her second season, leading the team with 18.1 points, 7.8 rebounds, 2.9 blocks and shooting 60.3 percent from the floor. The Gorham, Maine native also shoots 77.4 percent at the free throw line and also averages 1.0 steals per game. An All-Big Ten first team honoree, Homes has scored in double figures 20 times, nine 20-plus point scoring games and has seven double-doubles this season.

Nationally, she ranks seventh in field goal percentage, 10th in blocks (66 total), 11th in blocks per game and 30th in field goals made. She earned Big Ten Player of the Week honors on March 8 and a host of Big Ten Player of the Week honor roll nods this season.

Holmes and the 4 seed Hoosiers (18-5) begin play in the NCAA Tournament on Monday, March 22 at 2 p.m. ET against 13 seed VCU live on ESPNU.

Indiana’s Trayce Jackson-Davis Earns Third All-American Honor

(IU RELEASE)

Indiana University sophomore forward Trayce Jackson-Davis has been named third-team All-American by the United States Basketball Writers of America (USBWA).  He also earned the same honor from The Sporting News and was an honorable mention selection by The Associated Press.  He is the only high major player to average at least 19 points and 9 rebounds this season and one of four overall players in the country to achieve that standard.

The Greenwood, Indiana native and former Mr. Indiana Basketball (2019) at Center Grove High School is fourth in the Big Ten in scoring (19.1), second in rebounding (9.0), fifth in field goal percentage (51.7) and blocked shots (1.4) and is third in minutes played (34.2). In league games only, he finished third in scoring (18.4), second in rebounding (9.2), fourth in field goal percentage (50.6) and minutes played blocked shots (1.4) and is third in minutes played (34.2).  He is the fifth most improved scorer in the league showing a 5.6 points per game improvement (13.5 to 19.1) and scored in double figures in 26 of 27 games.

He also is third in the nation in free throws made (150) and first in attempts (229).  He also has had 10 double-doubles this season and 22 in his career. He also is the only Hoosier in the last 25 years to post three 25-point, 15 rebound games in his career (Nebraska, at Minnesota, at Florida State.  He is a finalist for the Karl Malone Award given to the nation’s top power forward, and the Wooden Award.

Eight Hoosiers Earn Winter Academic All-Big Ten Honors

ROSEMONT, Ill. – Eight Indiana women’s basketball players have been named 2020-21 Winter Academic All-Big Ten honorees, announced by the league on Wednesday.

To be eligible for Academic All-Big Ten selection, student-athletes must be enrolled full-time at the institution for a minimum of 12 months and carry a cumulative grade-point average of 3.0 or higher.

The Hoosiers set a program record for most Academic All-Big Ten honorees in a single season, surpassing last year’s seven who earned the distinction. Patberg and Penn each earn their third-consecutive honors while Berger repeats as a selection from a season ago. Holmes, Noveroske, Patterson, Waggoner and Wisne all earn their first distinctions.

Women’s Basketball
Grace Berger
Mackenzie Holmes
Hannah Noveroske
Ali Patberg
Danielle Patterson
Jaelynn Penn
Grace Waggoner
Arielle Wisne

Purdue Soccer: Homestand Continues Thursday vs. Ohio State

(PURDUE RELEASE)

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. – The Purdue soccer team hosts Ohio State on Thursday, March 18, at 5 p.m. ET.

The match will be played at the Mollenkopf Athletic Center, with the venue switch due to inclement weather expected in the area. Due to COVID-19 restrictions, fans will not be allowed.

Fans can watch live on BTN+, and live stats will be available at Purdue.Statbroadcast.com. Updates also can be found by following Purdue Soccer on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook, while direct links to follow along can be found at PurdueSports.com/Soccer.

The Boilermakers (3-3-0) have won two in a row and are coming off a 1-0 victory over Northwestern on Saturday, while the Buckeyes (2-1-2) played to a 2-2 draw against Penn State. Thursday’s matchup marks the fourth consecutive time in the series that OSU comes to West Lafayette.

Purdue is second in the Big Ten in total assists, with nine, and assists per match, with 1.50. The Boilermakers are fifth in total points (23) and points (3.83), shots (10.83) and corner kicks (4.33) per match.

Individually, freshman forward Nicole Kevdzija paces the conference and is No. 28 nationally with two match-winning goals, and she and redshirt junior forward Sarah Griffith are both No. 3 in the Big Ten with three goals. Griffith also is second in the league in shots per match, with 3.50, while freshman midfielder Emily Mathews is No. 4 with two total assists.

Along with her team-high-tying three goals and seven points, Griffith has a Purdue-best 21 shots and nine shots on goal. Junior goalkeeper Marisa Bova has played all 552 minutes and has allowed six goals for a 0.98 goals-against average with 17 saves for a .739 save percentage. She also has an assist on the year.

SERIES HISTORY VS. OHIO STATE

Purdue is 11-12-3 all-time against Ohio State following a scoreless draw in 2019. The Boilermakers are 4-7-1 in West Lafayette in the series.

Last season, Purdue out-shot OSU 18-10 and had a 9-5 advantage in shots on goal. Current senior Hannah Melchiorre led the team with four shots, two on goal, and Griffith had three shots, two on goal. Bova played all 110 minutes and made five saves in the shutout.

SCOUTING THE BUCKEYES

Ohio State owns a 2-1-2 record and is coming off a 2-2 draw against Penn State on March 13. OSU is 1-1 on the road, with a 3-1 victory at Maryland and a 2-1 defeat at Rutgers. The Buckeyes are receiving votes in this week’s United Soccer Coaches poll and the TopDrawerSoccer.com rankings

OSU is No. 21 nationally with 2.00 assists per match and No. 25 with 16.40 shots per match, while the Buckeyes also pace the Big Ten in points per match (6.00), shots on goal per match (7.60) and total assists (10). Ohio State is second in the league in goals per match (2.00) and corner kicks per match (6.00).

LAST TIME OUT: PURDUE SHUTS OUT NORTHWESTERN

Griffith scored her team-high-tying third goal of the season as Purdue blanked Northwestern, 1-0, on March 13. It was the second consecutive match that the Boilermakers held the opposition scoreless for the first time this season. Griffith’s goal came in the 74th minute as Purdue won its second in a row.

The Boilermakers were out-shot 8-7, but had a 5-2 advantage in shots on goal. Griffith led the team with two shots, both on goal. It was her first match-winner in 2020-21 and the fourth of her career. Bova made two saves and earned her second shutout of the season and 13th of her career.

The game-winning goal began with junior defender Julia Ware, who centered the ball to senior defender Maya Lambert from the near sideline, 25 yards from Purdue’s endline. Lambert dribbled several yards before she sent a long ball up the field to meet a sprinting Griffith, 25 yards in front of Northwestern’s goal. Griffith dribbled to her left into the 18 and buried the match-winner into the far corner.

A complete recap, including box score, highlights and postmatch comments from coach Drew Roff, is available at PurdueSports.com/Soccer.

UP NEXT: VS. MICHIGAN STATE

Purdue concludes a three-match homestand against Michigan State on Sunday, March 21. Kickoff is set for 1 p.m. at Folk Field.

LAMBERT EARNS BIG TEN HONOR

Senior defender Maya Lambert was named the Big Ten Defensive Player of the Week on March 16 after she notched the assist on the match-winning goal on March 13 against Northwestern, and led the Purdue defense to a pair of shutouts last week, with a 2-0 victory at Wisconsin on March 8 followed by a 1-0 home win over NU.

The assist was Lambert’s second of her career, with the first, as a freshman in 2017, also the match-winner. It is the fourth Big Ten weekly accolade earned by a Boilermaker this season, the most of any team. The award is the first of Lambert’s career.

TODAY IN BASEBALL HISTORY

1937       Ending his holdout, Lou Gehrig, who had initially asked for $50,000, agrees to sign with the Yankees for $36,000 and a $750 signing bonus. The new deal for the Bronx Bombers’ first baseman, last season’s American League MVP, makes him baseball’s highest-paid player.

1942       During spring training, Jackie Robinson and Nate Moreland work out with the White Sox in Pasadena, California. Manager Jimmie Dykes, who reluctantly granted their request for a walk-on tryout, dismisses the black players without making an offer for their services.

1943       Due to wartime travel restrictions, spring training camps begin opening in northern locations. Some of the locales include Bear Mountain, NY (Dodgers), French Lick Springs, IN (Cubs and White Sox), Asbury Park, NJ (Yankees), Medford, MA (Red Sox), and Wallingford, CT (Braves).

1953       “Braves Win Last Game for Boston, Milwaukee Loses It.” – BOSTON GLOBE, headline lamenting the city’s National League franchise move to Milwaukee. When the Braves’ move from Boston is officially approved unanimously by the National League owners, the team is on the field, beating the Yankees in the fifth inning, 3–0. The club now representing Milwaukee, as of 2:33 PM, blows the lead, dropping a 5-3 decision to the Yankees in the Bradenton, Florida exhibition game.

1953       The Braves end their 77 year-old association with Boston, becoming the first major league club to move since Baltimore shifted to New York in 1903. After listening to Lou Perini’s hour-long impassioned plea, the National League owners unanimously approved the franchise’s change of venue to Milwaukee, where the club will stay for dozen seasons, setting attendance records before moving again in 1966 to Atlanta.

1957       Indian general manager Hank Greenberg turns down the Red Sox’ million-dollar offer for pitcher Herb Score. The former slugger says the Tribe is building for the future and not into selling its premier players.

1958       The Dodgers, playing their first season in LA, do not renew the contract of Emmett Kelly, the team’s resident ‘tramp’ in Brooklyn. The veteran circus performer believes the size of the Coliseum, the club’s new venue on the West Coast, is just “too big for one clown.”

1981       After being declared a free agent because the Red Sox mailed his contract one day past the contractual deadline, Carlton Fisk signs a $3.5 million deal with the White Sox. On Opening Day, the 33 year-old catcher will hit an eighth-inning three-run home run to tie the score, 3-3, which proves to be the difference in Chicago’s eventual 5-3 victory over his old team at Fenway Park.

1985       Commissioner Peter Ueberroth reinstates Hall of Famers Mickey Mantle and Willie Mays. Major League Baseball banned the two Hall of Famers from associating due to their employment with Atlantic City casinos.

1990       The players and owners reach an agreement on a four-year contract after a 32-day lockout. Although the season will start a week later, teams plan to play a complete schedule, including the 78 games canceled by the work stoppage.

2000       Construction workers install a 15-foot-high and 56-foot-long replica of an 1862 steam locomotive ninety feet above the field onto the rails that run alongside the moveable roof at Enron Field, Houston’s new downtown, which is home partially located on the former home of the city’s Union Station. The 60,000-pound train, with its cargo of oranges, makes a 40-second trip back and forth on its track every time an Astro player hits a home run.

2000       After reacquiring Jesse Orosco from the Orioles in December, the Mets send the veteran left-hander to the Cardinals for utility player Joe McEwing. In 1978, the eventual four-decade hurler (1979-2003) was the player to be named later in the trade when New York dealt veteran southpaw Jerry Koosman to Minnesota.

2005       After Mark McGwire, who had previously denied using steroids, refuses to answer the questions concerning his involvement during the congressional hearings, U.S. Representative William Lacy Clay (D-MO) wants to remove the slugger’s name given to a stretch of highway in his state. The legislators officially renamed a five-mile segment of Interstate-70 the Mark McGwire Highway as a tribute to ‘Big Mac’ hitting a record 70 home runs in 1998.

2008       The possibility of collusion by the major league owners against Barry Bonds, who has pleaded innocent to four counts of perjury and one count of obstruction of justice, will be examined by the Players Association. The San Francisco slugger, who hit .276 last year with 28 home runs, has not been offered a contract by any major league team.

2008       In an attempt to be part of a healing process on the campus where 32 students and staff became victims of a deadly shooting spree last April, the Yankees play the Hokies at Virginia Tech’s English Field. George Steinbrenner, moved by coverage of the massacre on campus last spring, donated $1 million to a memorial fund and made arrangements for his team to participate in an exhibition game at the school.

2009       The Cubs announce the team will retire its fifth number when 31 will be set aside on May 3rd in honor of both Fergie Jenkins (1966-73, 1982-83) and Greg Maddux (1986-92, 2004-06). The hurlers will join Ron Santo (#10), Ernie Banks (#14), Ryne Sandberg (#23), and Billy Williams (#26) as honorees chosen by the Chicago club.

2010       Free-swinging slugger Mark Reynolds (.260, 44, 102) and the Diamondbacks agree to a new three-year, $14.5 million contract. The deal covers the 26 year-old third baseman’s first two arbitration years.

2011       The Mets make a symbolic but expensive roster move when they release their second baseman, Luis Castillo. The oft-injured embattled 35 year-old, best remembered by New York fans for the dropped popup in a 2009 Subway Series game at Yankee Stadium, is still owed the remaining $6 million on the four-year, $25 million contract he signed before the 2008 season.

2014       In a Cactus League game, all nine batters Jose Quintana faces reach base and eventually score in the White Sox’s 16-6 loss to the A’s at Camelback Ranch. The southpaw starter gives up seven hits, including a homer by Jed Lowrie and a triple by Sam Fuld, and issues two walks before exiting the game without retiring a batter.

TODAY IN SPORTS HISTORY-1953

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. – Unlike Bill Veeck, who had failed to effect an American League transfer of his Browns from St. Louis to Baltimore two days ago, Lou Perini succeeded today in shifting his National League baseball franchise from Boston to Milwaukee. After a meeting of senior circuit club owners, Warren Giles, the league president, announced the unanimous approval of Perini’s plan. Although the discussions lasted three and a half hours, Giles said “there was no real opposition” to the first shift of a major-league baseball franchise in half a century.

Before today the last change in the major-league map occurred in 1903, when the Baltimore Orioles became the New York Highlanders, now the Yankees. Minor details remain for the Boston-to- Milwaukee move, but the package was wrapped, sealed and delivered to Perini. To gain his point, the contractor-sportsman, a native New Englander, had to receive all eight votes of the National League club owners. One negative ballot would have brought rejection, but once Walter O’Malley of the Dodgers had moved for approval of the Braves’ transfer and Horace Stoneham of the Giants had seconded the motion, every hand, including Perini’s, went up in approval in the open vote.

Some observers thought Perini’s success was almost as great a surprise as was Veeck’s failure. It had been felt that the American League had set the precedent, when the Browns’ plea was turned down. But Perini never lost confidence and Giles later declared that “the fine standing and prestige of Perini in our league was a great factor.” Perini was congratulated by all of the baseball men present. O’Malley said he was “dubious at first, but I have high regard for Perini’s judgment and went with him.” Stoneham said, “I was with him all the way.”

For the first time since 1901, when the Red Sox set up American League business at the Hub, Boston became a one-team city. At Milwaukee, the Braves’ new home will be in County Stadium, a $5,000,000 structure that at the moment has 28,011 grandstand seats and 7,900 bleachers. The nickname of the team will continue to the be the “Braves.”

The Boston Braves’ move to Milwaukee was the first in a series of moves that altered the major-league map. The St. Louis Browns moved to Baltimore and became the Orioles in 1954, and the Philadelphia Athletics moved to Kansas City in 1955 (before shifting to Oakland in 1968).

In 1958, major-league baseball reached the West Coast when the Brooklyn Dodgers moved to Los Angeles and the New York Giants transferred to San Francisco. The Washington Senators moved to Bloomington, Minn., as the Minnesota Twins in 1961 and were replaced in Washington by an expansion franchise. That Senators franchise became the Texas Rangers in 1972.

ALSO

1945: Maurice (Rocket) Richard, in his third season at right wing with the Montreal Canadiens at age 23, became the first N.H.L. player to score 50 goals in a season in a 4-2 victory over the Boston Bruins. In Richard’s day, when the regular season consisted of just 50 games, 50 goals was the standard for superstardom. Today, with an 82-game season, 50-goal scorers are disappearing.

1990: Ending a 32-day lockout of players from spring training camps, major-league baseball owners and players agreed to a new labor agreement to extend through the 1993 season. Continuing labor trouble, however, resulted in the cancellation of the World Series in 1994.

1995: Janet Evans, the three-time Olympian from Placentia, Calif., won her 45th and final national swimming title, the 1,500-meter freestyle in the indoor championships at Minneapolis. Evans won three gold medals in the 1988 Seoul Olympics and one in the 1992 Barcelona Games. Tracy Caulkins won 48 national swim titles 

NBA STANDINGS

Eastern Conference
Atlantic Division
 WLPctGBHomeRoadDivConfLast 10Streak
Philadelphia2813.68318-410-97-221-78-21 L
Brooklyn2813.68316-612-75-215-99-16 W
Boston2020.5007.512-68-143-514-125-52 L
New York2021.4888.011-79-141-513-135-52 L
Toronto1723.42510.58-99-143-512-152-86 L
 
Central Divison
 WLPctGBHomeRoadDivConfLast 10Streak
Milwaukee2614.65015-511-98-016-79-15 W
Chicago1821.4627.59-149-72-28-105-51 L
Indiana1722.4368.57-1210-104-210-122-82 L
Cleveland1525.37511.010-105-152-511-125-51 W
Detroit1129.27515.07-114-180-78-173-71 W
 
Southeast Division
 WLPctGBHomeRoadDivConfLast 10Streak
Miami2219.53712-810-115-413-128-21 L
Charlotte2019.5131.012-88-115-111-96-41 L
Atlanta2020.5001.510-910-113-313-127-36 W
Washington1425.3597.07-147-111-65-173-75 L
Orlando1326.3338.08-135-134-49-152-88 L
 
Western Conference
Northwest Division
 WLPctGBHomeRoadDivConfLast 10Streak
Utah2910.74416-213-83-213-65-51 W
Denver2416.6005.511-813-87-114-108-22 W
Portland2316.5906.012-711-93-413-115-51 W
Oklahoma City1723.42512.58-129-112-69-165-51 L
Minnesota931.22520.55-144-173-56-172-81 L
 
Pacific Division
 WLPctGBHomeRoadDivConfLast 10Streak
Phoenix2612.68413-713-54-217-78-21 W
LA Lakers2713.67513-814-52-419-85-53 W
LA Clippers2616.6192.013-613-106-216-94-61 L
Golden State2120.5126.513-78-133-611-125-51 W
Sacramento1624.40011.09-127-123-48-114-61 W
 
Southwest Division
 WLPctGBHomeRoadDivConfLast 10Streak
San Antonio2116.56810-1011-64-612-145-52 W
Dallas2118.5381.011-910-95-112-127-31 W
Memphis1819.4863.09-129-73-58-135-51 W
New Orleans1723.4255.512-105-134-39-154-61 L
Houston1128.28211.05-136-154-58-140-1018 L

NHL STANDINGS

East
 GPWLOTLPtsROWGFGAHomeRoadL10
Washington Capitals2919644217103889-3-210-3-29-1-0
New York Islanders3019744217876712-0-27-7-29-1-0
Pittsburgh Penguins29181013715948212-3-06-7-17-3-0
Boston Bruins271584341373657-3-18-5-34-4-2
Philadelphia Flyers2714103311388967-5-27-5-14-6-0
New York Rangers2812124281185766-6-36-6-15-4-1
New Jersey Devils26913422965843-10-26-3-22-6-2
Buffalo Sabres28618416460972-10-24-8-20-9-1
 
West
 GPWLOTLPtsROWGFGAHomeRoadL10
Vegas Golden Knights2720614120906112-2-18-4-08-2-0
Minnesota Wild2718813718866410-3-08-5-17-2-1
Colorado Avalanche2717823617866410-4-17-4-17-2-1
St. Louis Blues2914105331389964-7-310-3-24-3-3
Los Angeles Kings2812106301183795-3-47-7-23-4-3
Arizona Coyotes2912134281070887-7-35-6-13-6-1
San Jose Sharks271113325780963-5-18-8-24-5-1
Anaheim Ducks308166227671034-10-34-6-32-6-2
 
North
 GPWLOTLPtsROWGFGAHomeRoadL10
Toronto Maple Leafs30199240191027910-5-19-4-15-5-0
Winnipeg Jets2918923818978510-5-18-4-16-3-1
Edmonton Oilers321913038191109410-8-09-5-05-5-0
Montreal Canadiens291388341393805-5-18-3-74-2-4
Vancouver Canucks33151623212921049-7-26-9-07-3-0
Calgary Flames3014133311383928-5-16-8-25-4-1
Ottawa Senators3310203238871306-6-34-14-03-5-2
 
Central
 GPWLOTLPtsROWGFGAHomeRoadL10
Tampa Bay Lightning28206242191026710-2-010-4-27-2-1
Florida Panthers281954421899819-3-310-2-17-1-2
Carolina Hurricanes2820714116977210-1-110-6-08-2-0
Chicago Blackhawks3014115331292987-4-27-7-34-5-1
Columbus Blue Jackets3011127291080997-5-54-7-23-5-2
Dallas Stars2599725872686-4-53-5-23-4-3
Nashville Predators2912161251071977-7-05-9-14-5-1
Detroit Red Wings30917422968996-7-33-10-14-5-1