NBA-SCHEDULE

76ers beat Celtics after losing Embiid

UNDATED (AP) — The Philadelphia 76ers received announced bad news for their roster before creating good news in the NBA standings.

Josh Richardson scored 29 points, Ben Simmons had 19 as the Sixers downed the sputtering Celtics, 109-98. Boston got within a point before Furkan Korkmaz buried a 3 late in the fourth to put Philadelphia ahead, 91-87. Former Celtic Al Horford later converted a three-point play, and the 76ers took control with a 9-0 run.

Horford, Simmons and Mike Scott saw action at center in place of All-Star Joel Embiid (joh-EHL ehm-BEED’), who will have surgery Friday for a torn ligament in his left ring finger. Embiid injured the radial collateral ligament in the first half Monday night against Oklahoma City and will be evaluated in one to two weeks.

He is averaging 23.4 points and 12.3 rebounds in 31 games this season.

Checking out Thursday’s other NBA action:

— Kevin Love made a tiebreaking 3-pointer with 37.9 seconds left in overtime and the Cavaliers snapped a five-game losing streak with a 115-112 victory over the Pistons. Tristan Thompson had 35 points and 14 rebounds for Cleveland, which trailed by 13 in the third quarter.

NBA-NEWS

LeBron, Giannis among vote leaders

UNDATED (AP) — Lakers forward LeBron James is the current leader in fan voting for the NBA All-Star Game rosters, logging more than 3.3 million votes.

Bucks forward and reigning MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo (YAH’-nihs an-teh-toh-KOON’-poh) is the runaway leader among Eastern Conference players with over 3.2 million votes.

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Lakers big man Anthony Davis and Dallas guard Luka Doncic (DAHN’-chihch) are the only other players with three million votes.

In other NBA news:

— Former Thunder player and current Celtics center Enes Kanter plans to open a charter school that focuses on serving low-income minority students and those from immigrant families with limited English-speaking abilities. Kanter says he and a group of “civic-minded individuals” from the Oklahoma City will submit a charter school application to the Oklahoma City School Board.

— Former Auburn University star and NBA Hall of Famer Charles Barkley has donated $1 million to Miles College, a historically black institution in Fairfield, Alabama. A school official said Barkley’s contribution is the largest individual gift the college has received in its 122-year history and will be used to launch a comprehensive campaign to raise $100 million. He has previously pledged $1 million to Alabama A&M, Clark Atlanta University and Morehouse College in Atlanta.

— Boston police say a man was arrested and escorted out of the arena after throwing a can of hard seltzer onto the court near the Spurs’ bench during the Celtics’ loss to San Antonio on Wednesday. Justin Arnold is charged with disturbing a public assembly and was released on personal recognizance after pleading not guilty.

T25 MEN’S BASKETBALL-SCHEDULE

Michigan, Wichita State win

UNDATED (AP) — Michigan and Wichita State were tonight’s early winners in the top-25 men’s basketball schedule.

Zavier Simpson scored 22 points and Jon Teske (TEHS’-kee) added 18 as the 19th-ranked Wolverines downed Purdue, 84-78 in double-overtime. Freshman Franz Wagner had 15 points for Michigan, which avoided a third straight Big Ten loss and improved to 11-4.

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Purdue sophomore Trevion Williams had career highs with 36 points and 20 rebounds but missed a shot to win at the regulation buzzer.

Jamarius Burton scored 16 points and Erik Stevenson had 12 points for the Shockers in a 76-67 downing of No. 21 Memphis. Wichita State led by as many as 19 despite shooting 32.8% for the game.

The Tigers fell to 12-3 despite Precious Achiuwa’s 22 points and 12 rebounds.

COLLEGE BASKETBALL-WASHINGTON-GREEN

Huskies lose Green

STANFORD, Calif. (AP) — Washington guard Quade Green has been ruled academically ineligible by the school and will miss the rest of the regular season.

Green will still be eligible to practice with the team and could return in late March should he regain his academic standing.

The loss of Green is a huge blow to Washington’s NCAA Tournament hopes. He was averaging 11.6 points and led the team in assists while starting 14 of 15 games. Green’s 79 assists are 42 more than any other player on the Huskies roster.

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NFL-NEWS

Thielen banged up heading into NFC divisional round

UPDATE (AP) — Adam Thielen (THEE’-lehn) had a terrific game against the New Orleans Saints last weekend, grabbing seven passes for 129 yards in the Minnesota Vikings’ 26-20 overtime win.

There’s now a chance the Vikings could be without their top wide receiver for Saturday’s NFC divisional playoff game at San Francisco. Thielen suffered a left ankle injury during practice Wednesday and was wearing a wrap around it Thursday. He declined to specify the nature or severity of the injury.

Thielen played in only eight full games during the regular season, limited by a hamstring injury he aggravated twice.

Minnesota wide receiver Stefon Diggs returned to practice Thursday after sitting out the previous two days because of illness.

In other NFL news:

— The Raiders signed offensive lineman Denzelle Good to a one-year contract extension. Good played 16 games this season for Oakland and started five, playing both left and right guard.

— Falcons tight end coach Mike Mularkey is retiring after 25 years in the league. The 58-year-old Mularkey was head coach of the Titans, Bills and Jaguars, compiling a 36-53 record in six seasons.

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— The NFL is looking into whether the Bills violated league rules on reporting injuries in connection to defensive end Jerry Hughes revealing he played with torn wrist ligaments. Hughes didn’t miss a game but revealed the severity of the injury in a note Tuesday on his Twitter account. NFL policy notes a player with a significant injury must be listed even if he fully participates in practice. 

COLLEGE FOOTBALL-NEWS

Leach leaves Cougars for Bulldogs

UNDATED (AP) — Mississippi State has hired Washington State’s Mike Leach as its new head football coach, replacing Joe Moorhead.

Leach took over a program that had been mired in the Pac-12 basement and went to five straight bowl games, including a school-record 11 victories in 2018. He finished 55-47 in eight seasons with the Cougars and is 139-90 as a college coach for both Washington State and Texas Tech.

Moorhead was fired last week after going 14-12 in two years with the Bulldogs, including a 6-7 mark this season.

In other college football news:

— Missouri State says it is parting ways with head coach Dave Steckel, the former Missouri assistant whose teams won just 13 games in five seasons. Missouri State athletic director Kyle Moats announced in November that the university intended to honor Steckel’s contract through the 2021 season.

— Tennessee offensive guard Trey Smith says he will return to school for his senior year. Smith made a successful comeback from a career-threatening medical issue to earn first-team, all-SEC honors this year.

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— Offensive lineman Cade Mays is leaving Georgia and transferring to Tennessee, where his father, Kevin, was a team captain and all-SEC selection.  Kevin Mays has filed a lawsuit against Georgia about two years after he lost part of his little finger after it was caught in a folding chair at a dinner for recruits at Sanford Stadium.

— Six bowl games this season saw their lowest attendance in history. Even though many bowls are played in half-empty stadiums, they aren’t going away. The number of bowls will go from 39 this season to 42 next season.  Average announced attendance for non-New Year’s Six bowls was 34,500.

NHL-SCHEDULE

Bolts blank Coyotes to stretch win streak

UNDATED (AP) — The Tampa Bay Lightning were just four games over .500 following a 3-1 loss at Washington on Dec. 19. They haven’t lost since.

The Lightning’s winning streak is at nine games after Nikita Kucherov (KOO’-cheh-rahv) notched two goals and Andrei Vasilevskiy (AHN’-dray va-sih-LEHV’-skee) stopped 25 shots in a 4-0 shutout of the Coyotes. Kucherov scored twice in a 2:37 span of the second period to put the Bolts ahead by four. Both goals were assisted by Steven Stamkos.

Cedric Paquette and Pat Maroon set up first-period goals by Alex Killorn (kih-LOHRN’) and Mikhail Sergachev (SUR’-gah-SHEHV’) to support Vasilevskiy’s first shutout of the season and 19th of his career.

Tampa Bay is one win from tying the franchise record of 10 straight set last February.

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Elsewhere on NHL ice:

— David Pastrnak (PAHS’-tur-nahk) ran his point streak to 12 games by registering his third hat trick this season and eighth of his career in leading the Bruins’ 5-4 verdict over the Jets. Jake DeBrusk provided Boston’s other goals and backup Jaroslav Halak (YAH’-roh-slahv hah-LAHK’) stopped 17 shots in the Bruins’ second straight win since a three-game skid.

— Tony DeAngelo recorded his first career hat trick and added two assists as the Rangers doubled up the Devils, 6-3. Igor Shesterkin made 46 saves and collected his second NHL victory in as many starts.

— Noel Acciari (ah-CHAH’-ree) scored twice and Sergei Bobrovsky (boh-BRAHF’-skee) made 30 saves in his first start in three games to lift the Panthers over the Canucks 5-2. Mike Hoffman, Evgenii Dadonov (dah-DAH’-nahv) and Mark Pysyk (PEH’-sihk) also scored for Florida.

— Ryan Nugent-Hopkins collected a goal and an assist while the Oilers were scoring three unanswered goals in the third period to rally past the Canadiens, 4-2. Alex Chiasson (CHAY’-sahn) snapped a 2-2 deadlock midway through the final stanza to help Edmonton deal Montreal its eighth consecutive loss.

NHL-SHARKS-COUTURE

SAN JOSE, Calif. (AP) — San Jose Sharks captain and leading scorer Logan Couture (kuh-CHUR’) will miss about six weeks after breaking his left ankle when he crashed into the boards during Tuesday’s 3-2 loss at St. Louis.

Couture collided with Blues defenseman Vince Dunn, causing him to slam into the boards.

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The 30-year-old forward has scored 14 goals and 36 points in 45 games this season. Couture has scored at least 21 goals in nine of his 10 full NHL seasons.

MLB-NEWS

Encarnación, White Sox finalize pact

UNDATED (AP) — The Chicago White Sox and slugger Edwin Encarnación (ehn-kar-nah-see-OHN’) have finalized their one-year, $12 million contract, a deal that includes a $12 million team option for 2021.

The 37-year-old Encarnación batted .249 with 34 home runs and 86 RBIs in 109 games for the Mariners and Yankees last season. The three-time All-Star has belted 297 home runs and driven in 850 runs since 2012.

In other baseball news:

— The Diamondbacks have finalized a one-year, $3 million deal with relief pitcher Héctor Rondón, who was 3-2 with a 3.71 ERA in 62 appearances for the Astros last season.

— Catcher Francisco Cervelli has finalized a one-year, $2 million contract with the Marlins to provide depth behind Jorge Alfaro. Cervelli was a part-time backstop for the Pirates and Braves last year, hitting .213 with three homers and 12 RBIs in 48 games.

— The Rangers have offered minor league contracts to right-hander Luís Garcia and former major league outfielder-turned pitcher James Jones.

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RUSSIAN DOPING

Russian doping ban heads to sport’s highest court

UNDATED (AP) — Russia’s four-year Olympic ban for manipulating doping data is heading to sport’s highest court.

The World Anti-Doping Agency said Thursday it has formally referred the case to the Court of Arbitration for Sport after Russia confirmed last month it will appeal the sanction.

WADA imposed a package of sanctions including banning Russia’s name and flag from the Olympics and world championship events in various sports over four years.

In other Olympic news:

— No taking a knee at the Olympics. No hand gestures with political meaning. No disrespect at medal ceremonies. The International Olympic Committee published guidelines Thursday specifying which types of athlete protests will not be allowed at the 2020 Tokyo Games. Athletes are prohibited from taking a political stand in the field of play.