Update on the latest sports



Bucks whip Nets

UNDATED (AP) — More than a few basketball experts would like to anoint the Brooklyn Nets the prohibitive favorite to win the Eastern Conference. The Milwaukee Bucks showed on Friday that the Nets won’t have an easy ride to the Finals.

Giannis Antetokounmpo and Khris Middleton led the defending champs to their first win in three games, a 121-109 decision over the Nets in Brooklyn.

Antetokounmpo provided 31 points after missing Milwaukee’s previous game with a non-COVID-related illness. He also had nine assists and seven rebounds, while Middleton scored 15 of his 20 in the third quarter to help the Bucks take a 24-point lead in the period.

Milwaukee won without coach Mike Budenholzer and Jrue Holiday due to health and safety protocols.

Kevin Durant had 29 points, nine rebounds and seven assists for the Nets, who have lost five straight home games.

Checking out Friday’s other NBA action:

— Fred Van Vleet’s first career triple-double carried the Raptors to a comeback 122-108 win over the Jazz. Van Vleet delivered 37 points, 10 rebounds and 10 assists for the Raptors, who trailed by 17 before earning their fifth straight win. He’s scored at least 30 in five of his last seven games. Eric Paschall had a career-high 29 points for the Jazz, who were without eight key players due to injury or COVID protocols.

— The 76ers ran their winning streak to six games as Joel Embiid furnished 31 points and 12 rebounds in a 119-100 win over the short-handed Spurs. Seth Curry and Tobias Harris each added 23 points for the Sixers. Dejounte Murray scored 27 points for San Antonio, which was without six players due to health and safety protocols.


Dallas coach Jason Kidd enters NBA protocols, out vs Rockets

UNDATED (AP) — The Dallas Mavericks were without coach Jason Kidd tonight against the Houston Rockets. The Mavericks say Kidd has entered the health and safety protocols, leaving the team in the hands of assistant coach Sean Sweeney.

The last few weeks in the NBA have seen most teams dealing with outbreaks. Eleven games have been postponed, and now 13 head coaches, countless other staffers and about one-third of the league’s referees have been sidelined by virus issues.


Cards designate Watt to return, could help in playoffs

UNDATED (AP) — The Arizona Cardinals have announced that three-time NFL Defensive Player of the Year J.J. Watt has been designated to return from the injured reserve list, leaving open the possibility that he could boost the team’s defense during the playoffs.

The Cardinals made the move on Friday and now have 21 days to elevate Watt to the 53-man roster. He can return to practice immediately.

The 32-year-old Watt was initially expected to be out for the season because of a shoulder injury on Oct. 24, but has been working out at Arizona’s practice facility to try and be ready for the playoffs.

In other NFL news:

— Titans coach Mike Vrabel says the team has some time to make the decision on moving Derrick Henry from injured reserve back to the active roster. Vrabel says he likes what he’s seen of the 2020 AP NFL Offensive Player of the Year in the three days Henry has practiced.

— Quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo is listed as questionable for the 49ers in their crucial season finale against the Rams after missing last week’s game with an injured right thumb. Garoppolo practiced on a limited basis all week, and said Thursday that his thumb still hurts. Coach Kyle Shanahan says he knows whether he plans to start Garoppolo or Trey Lance on Sunday but is waiting until game time to make an announcement.

— Lamar Jackson will miss a fourth consecutive game for the Ravens because of his ankle injury. That likely ends the star quarterback’s 2021 regular season. That means Tyler Huntley will make his fourth start of the season. The winner of the Ravens-Steelers game can make the playoffs, but those chances are slim.

— Packers center Josh Myers is expected to play for the first time in over 2 1/2 months on Sunday against Detroit. The availability of fellow offensive lineman David Bakhtiari remains uncertain.


Hurricanes double up Flames

UNDATED (AP) — A one-week layoff did little to shut down the Carolina Hurricanes’ potent attack.

Andre Svechnikov scored twice and Brady Skjei had a goal and two assists as the Canes won for the ninth time in 10 games, 6-3 against the Flames.

Derek Stepan, Jesper Fast and Tony DeAngelo also scored and Steven Lorentz had two assists for Carolina. Frederik Andersen stopped 36 shots while playing a full game for the first time in nearly three weeks.


NHL postpones Canucks, Senators games due to capacity limits

UNDATED (AP) — The Vancouver Canucks had another game pushed back when the NHL announced it was postponing Saturday’s matchup with the Ottawa Senators due to ongoing attendance restrictions.

The league also postponed a Senators-Jets game originally set for Jan. 15. Current health orders in British Columbia limit attendance at indoor sports events to 50% capacity.


ESPN realigns MLB Sunday Night broadcast team

BRISTOL, Conn. (AP) — Former players David Cone and Eduardo Perez are joining Karl Ravech to form a new broadcast team for ESPN’s “Sunday Night Baseball” telecasts.

Alex Rodriguez will shift to eight Sunday night alternate telecasts on ESPN2 with Michael Kay, a mainstay on New York Yankees’ broadcasts since 1992.

Ravech replaces Matt Vasgersian.


Murray State joining MVC this summer

MURRAY, Ky. (AP) — Murray State will become the 11th member of the Missouri Valley Conference on July 1.

University officials announced Friday the Board of Regents accepted an invitation from the Missouri Valley Conference and will be leaving the Ohio Valley Conference.

The MVC does not include football or rifle. Murray State is working to join the Missouri Valley Football Conference in football, while the school’s rifle program will continue competing in the Ohio Valley Conference.


Djokovic spending Orthodox Christmas in detention

BRISBANE, Australia (AP) — Novak Djokovic (NOH’-vak JOH’-kuh-vich) spent Orthodox Christmas in an Australian detention hotel working on his challenge against deportation. Hundreds of supporters have gathered at a rally in downtown Belgrade to protest his confinement.

The evidence that Djokovic was relying on to support a medical exemption to Australia’s strict COVID-19 vaccination policy was rejected by Australian border authorities when he arrived at the Melbourne airport late Wednesday, and his visa was canceled. He has been confined to the detention hotel since being moved from the airport.

The world No. 1 men’s player will go to the Federal Circuit Court on Monday to challenge his visa cancellation and deportation. That’s a week before the season-opening major starts.

In other tennis news:

— Defending Australian Open champion Naomi Osaka has withdrawn from her semifinal match at a WTA tournament in Melbourne with an abdominal injury. That allowed her opponent Veronika Kudermetova to advance to the final on a walkover. Earlier, American Amanda Anisimova advanced to her first final since 2019 with a 6-2, 6-0 win over Daria Kasatkina.


US Women’s Open purse soars to $10 million on fabled courses

UNDATED (AP) — The USGA has announced a $10 million purse for this year’s U.S. Women’s Open, nearly doubling last year’s total.

The prize money will go up to $12 million over the next five years.


Bowe, teen Stolz win 1,000 races at US speedskating trials

UNDATED (AP) — Brittany Bowe has won the women’s 1,000 meters in a track-record time at the U.S. speedskating trials in Milwaukee to earn her third Olympic berth. The 33-year-old Floridian finished first in 1 minute, 13.63 seconds. Kimi Goetz was second at 1:14.89. Erin Jackson finished third in 1:15.88.

Jordan Stolz won the men’s 1,000 in a track-record time of 1:07.61 to earn an Olympic berth at age 17. Joey Mantia qualified for his third Olympics by finishing second.

In other Olympics developments:

— Olympic veterans Chris Mazdzer and Jayson Terdiman have crashed out of a World Cup qualifying race. That ends their hopes of being the doubles sled that represents USA Luge at next month’s Beijing Games.

— Two-time champion and Olympic hopeful Alysa Liu has withdrawn from the U.S. Figure Skating Championships after testing positive for COVID-19 on Friday. She finished third in the short program on Thursday to put herself in position to make the Olympic team.

Categories: National Sports