Celtics blow out Lakers, Rockets lose again
UNDATED (AP) — The Boston Celtics did a nice job shaking their losing streak, but the Houston Rockets’ struggles continue.
The Celtics had dropped three in a row before Jayson Tatum delivered 27 points in just 29 minutes of a 139-107 thrashing of the Western Conference-leading Lakers. Kemba Walker and Jaylen Brown each chipped in 20 points and Enes Kanter added 18 with 11 rebounds as Boston pulled within a half-game of the Atlantic Division-leading Raptors.
Walker had gone 0-28 in his career against LeBron James, second in NBA history only to Sherman Douglas’ 0-30 head-to-head record against Michael Jordan.
JaVale McGee had 18 points for Los Angeles, which lost for only the second time in 12 games. James finished with 15 points, 13 assists and six boards in the loss.
The Rockets’ losing streak has reached a season-worst four games after they coughed up a 15-point lead in the fourth quarter of a 112-107 setback against the Thunder. Oklahoma City ripped off 13 straight points and outscored the Rockets, 41-20 in the final period.
Dennis Schroder (SHROO’-dur) delivered 17 of his 23 points after halftime to lead the Thunder to their 14th win in 19 games since falling to 11-14.
Oklahoma City’s Chris Paul scored 27 of his 28 points in the first half against his former team, while Danilo Gallinari finished with 25.
Rockets guard James Harden had 29 points but was a miserable 1-for-17 from 3-point range. Former Thunder guard Russell Westbrook had 32 points, 12 assists and 11 rebounds for Houston.
Checking out the other completed NBA action on Martin Luther King Jr. Day:
— Giannis Antetokounmpo (YAH’-nihs an-teh-toh-KOON’-poh) registered a triple-double of 28 points, 14 rebounds and 10 assists in just 31 minutes of the Bucks’ seventh straight win, 111-98 against the Bulls. Khris Middleton contributed 24 points as the Bucks improved to a league-best 39-6 at home, including 21-2 at home.
— Kendrick Nunn provided 25 points and James Johnson added 22 on 9-for-11 shooting as the Heat outlasted the Kings, 118-113 in overtime. Goran Dragic (DRAH’-gihch) scored 18 as the Heat improved their league-best home record to 19-1. Bam Adebayo (ad-ah-BAY’-oh) finished with 16 points and 11 rebounds for Miami, which is 7-0 in OT.
— Norman Powell furnished 17 of his 27 points in the final period as the Raptors hung on to beat the Hawks, 122-117. Fred VanVleet had 20 points, including three free throws with 14.2 left after Toronto blew most of a 21-point lead. Trae Young had 42 points and 15 assists for Atlanta, which pulled within 117-115.
— Ben Simmons tied a career high with 34 points and chipped in 12 rebounds and 12 assists to guide the 76ers past the Nets, 117-111. Simmons shot 12 for 14 from the field in his career-best fifth straight game with 20 or more points and fourth triple-double of the season. Al Horford added 19 points for the 76ers, who won their fourth consecutive game.
— The Grizzlies’ seven-game winning streak is over after the Pelicans set a franchise record with 21 3-pointers in a 126-116 victory at Memphis. Jrue Holiday matched his season high with 36 points in his return after a five-game absence caused by a strained elbow. Brandon Ingram scored 25 points and Nicolo Melli added 15 for New Orleans.
— Evan Fournier scored 26 points and the Magic finished 3-3 on their six-game road trip by slamming the Hornets, 106-83. Nikola Vucevic (nee-KOH’-lah VOO’-seh-vihch) had 24 points and 10 rebounds for Orlando, which shot 14 of 28 from 3-point range. Malik Monk scored 20 points and P.J. Washington had 19 in Charlotte’s seventh consecutive loss.
— The Wizards ended a three-game skid as Bradley Beal scored 29 points and Ian Mahinmi added 21 in their 106-100 decision over the Pistons. There were 10 lead changes before Washington scored nine straight to take a 95-87 lead with 7:06 remaining. Andre Drummond’s 18 points and 16 rebounds didn’t stop Detroit from losing in Washington for the 10th straight time.
— The Knicks picked up a 106-86 win at Cleveland as Marcus Morris Sr. and Julius Randle each scored 19 points. New York trailed by one before outscoring Cleveland, 30-14 in the third quarter. The Knicks won for just the second time in 10 games and dealt the Cavaliers their fifth consecutive loss.
Kyrie Irving sat out Monday game
NEW YORK (AP) — Nets guard Kyrie Irving missed Brooklyn’s Monday game against Philadelphia because of right hamstring tightness.
Coach Kenny Atkinson says Irving was feeling soreness Sunday and then was checked again Monday before the team decided the All-Star point guard wouldn’t play. Irving is averaging 26.5 points in his first season with the Nets, missing 26 games with a right shoulder injury that kept him sidelined until Jan. 12.
Parsons’ attorneys say his injuries could threaten his career
ATLANTA (AP) — Chandler Parsons’ attorneys say the Atlanta Hawks’ forward suffered career-threatening injuries in a car wreck last week.
The attorneys say the injuries suffered in Wednesday’s accident include a traumatic brain injury, disc herniation and a torn labrum.
Parsons was leaving practice when hit by a driver the attorneys say was charged with driving under the influence.
T25 MEN’S BASKETBALL
Mountaineers hammer Longhorns
MORGANTOWN, W.Va. (AP) — No. 14 West Virginia had no trouble bouncing back from Saturday’s lopsided loss at Kansas State.
The Mountaineers reel off a 20-0 run that gave them a 43-15 lead in a 97-59 trouncing of Texas. Oscar Tshiebwe (SHEEB’-way) had 13 points and 11 rebounds in the rout, while Derek Culver added 13 points.
Jase Febres (jays FEH’-brehs) had a game-high 18 points for the Longhorns, who were held to 36% shooting for the game.
Avs double up Wings
DENVER (AP) — The Colorado Avalanche have reeled off three straight wins since a four-game skid dropped them farther behind the St. Louis Blues in the NHL’s Central Division race.
Nazem Kadri (NA’-zehm KA’-dree) and Nathan MacKinnon scored 1:54 apart early in the second period to put the Avs ahead to stay in a 6-3 win against the struggling Red Wings. Kadri tied it with a power-play goal 62 seconds into the period.
Kadri and MacKinnon also tallied in Colorado’s four-goal third period. MacKinnon heads into the All-Star break with 30 goals.
The Avalanche went 3-0-2 on their five-game homestand and are six points behind the division-leading Blues.
The Red Wings dropped their fifth in a row to fall to 5-22-3 in their last 30 games.
Konta falls in opening round
MELBOURNE, Australia (AP) — It’s Day 2 of the Australian Open, and it’s also catch-up day on the schedule.
Monday’s rain caused more than two dozen matches to be pushed back a day.
Milos Raonic (ROW’-nihch) and 12th-seeded Fabio Fognini won the completion of their matches, which were stopped by wet weather the previous day. Fognini needed five sets to advance.
Women’s No. 12 Johanna Konta suffered her earliest Australian Open exit with a first-round loss to Tunisian Ons Jabeur, 6-4, 6-2 at Melbourne Park. Konta has been bothered by a knee injury that allowed her to complete in just one match since a quarterfinal exit at the U.S. Open last September.
Second-seeded Karolina Pliskova beat Kristina Mladenovic 6-1, 7-5 and sixth-seeded Belinda Bencic advanced 6-3, 7-5 over Anna Karolina Schmiedlova.
Rafael Nadal plays his first-round match against Hugo Dellien, and the locals will be interested in an opening-round match involving countryman Nick Kyrgios (KEER’-ee-ohs) against Lorenzo Sonego. Kyrgios hasn’t reached the quarterfinals of a major in five years and is just 11-6 at Melbourne.
Baylor takes top spot
UNDATED (AP) — Baylor has become the seventh team to sit atop The Associated Press men’s basketball poll since November, already matching a single-season record for the most No. 1 teams since the ranking began in the 1948-49 season.
The Bears picked up 33 of 65 first-place votes to climb over No. 2 Gonzaga, which came away with 31 first-place votes. The two teams are separated by just three points.
Kansas, unbeaten San Diego State and Florida State round out the top five. They replace Duke, Auburn and Butler, each of which lost twice last week.
Sixth-ranked Louisville is followed by Dayton, the Blue Devils, Villanova and Seton Hall. The Cardinals, Flyers, Wildcats and Pirates all climbed at least five spots, with Seton Hall moving up eight notches.
Braves ink King Felix
UNDATED (AP) — Felix Hernandez has been given a chance to continue his major league career.
The Atlanta Braves have signed the six All-Star selection and the 2010 AL Cy Young Award winner to a minor league contract with an invitation to big league camp. Hernandez is coming off his worst major league season, going 1-8 with a 6.40 ERA in 15 starts for the Mariners.
The right-hander would get a $1 million, one-year contract if added to Atlanta’s 40-man roster.
Gaby Lopez wins LPGA tournament in Florida in 7-hole playoff
LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. (AP) — Gaby Lopez sank a 30-foot birdie on the seventh playoff hole to outlast Nasa Hataoka and win the LPGA’s Diamond Resorts Tournament of Champions in Florida.
It’s the second LPGA win for Lopez as she and Hataoka tied the fourth-longest playoff in tournament history. They played five extra holes on Sunday before the playoff was suspended by darkness.