Rockets run win streak to a dozen
UNDATED (AP) — The Houston Rockets own the NBA’s top record at 46-13 following their 12th consecutive victory.
James Harden poured in 41 points, grabbed eight rebounds and had seven assists as the Rockets ended the Nuggets’ four-game winning streak, 119-114. Harden contributed 27 points in the first half and added seven in the fourth quarter to help Houston stave off the Nuggets’ late charge.
Chris Paul had 23 points for the Rockets, who are 21-4 since their season-worst five-game losing streak in late December.
Will Barton had a team-high 25 points for the Nuggets, while Nikola Jokic added 21 and 14 boards.
The outcome puts the Rockets a half-game ahead of Golden State in the overall standings.
Checking out Sunday’s other NBA action:
— The Spurs had dropped four straight before LaMarcus Aldridge scored 27 points and Danny Green added 22 in a convincing 110-94 victory over the Cavaliers. Green hit five 3-pointers after coming off the bench for the first time in 49 games this season. LeBron James had 33 points, 13 rebounds and nine assists for the Cavs, who fell to 3-2 since overhauling their roster with three trades.
— The 76ers’ seven-game winning streak is over after Otto Porter dropped in 24 points and Bradley Beal added 23 in the Wizards’ 109-94 win against Philadelphia. Kelly Oubre scored 16 of his 19 points in the first half to help Washington improve to 9-3 since losing All-Star guard John Wall to knee surgery.
— The Pelicans won their fifth in a row as Jrue (juh-ROO’) Holiday scored 28 of his season-high 36 points after halftime to lead a 123-121 overtime victory against the Bucks. Holiday also had nine rebounds and six assists, but New Orleans wasn’t assured a win until Jason Terry’s 3-pointer was ruled to have come after the buzzer.
— Dwight Howard’s 17 points and 12 boards sent the Hornets past the Pistons, 114-98. Kemba Walker also had 17 points as one of seven Charlotte players in double figures.
Wolves: All-Star guard Butler has successful knee surgery
MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — The Minnesota Timberwolves say All-Star guard Jimmy Butler has undergone successful meniscus surgery on his right knee, two days after he was injured in a loss at Houston.
Butler will be sidelined indefinitely. The Wolves say further updates on his progress will be issued as he begins rehabilitation.
Butler is averaging 22.2 points, 5.4 rebounds and 5.0 assists in 56 games.
TOP 25 MEN’S BASKETBALL-SCHEDULE
No. 2 Michigan State beats Wisconsin, wraps up Big Ten
UNDATED (AP) — Michigan State will have the No. 1 seed when the Big Ten tournament arrives at New York’s Madison Square Garden later this week.
The Spartans have clinched the conference regular-season title with their 12th straight win as Cassius Winston went 6-for-6 from 3-point range while scoring 20 points in a 68-63 victory at Wisconsin. Winston hit two 3s during an 11-2 run that put Michigan State ahead 58-51 with 4:45 remaining.
Miles Bridges clinched the win by hitting a pair of free throws. Bridges scored 10 points on 3 of 15 shooting in his first game since being cleared by the NCAA. His eligibility was questioned following a Yahoo! Sports article on Friday that identified him as one of many players who may have received improper benefits.
In other Top 25 games:
— Dakota Mathias matched his career high with 25 points and left to a standing ovation in his final home game as No. 9 Purdue blew out Minnesota 84-60. Carsen Edwards had 18 points for the 26-5 Boilermakers, who have won three in a row since a three-game slide.
— Gary Clark scored eight of his 17 points during a 24-4 run early in the second half of No. 11 Cincinnati’s 82-74 win over Tulsa. Jarron Cumberland also had 17 points and the Bearcats nailed a season-high 15 pointers while staying ahead of Wichita State for first place in the American Athletic Conference.
— Caleb Martin scored 25 points and Jordan Caroline added 21 with 14 rebounds as No. 20 Nevada knocked off Colorado State, 92-83 to clinch the No. 1 seed in the Mountain West tournament. Cody Martin chipped in 17 points and 10 assists for the Wolf Pack, who moved to 25-5 overall and 14-2 in the Mountain West.
— No. 24 Houston shot 67 percent from the field in clobbering East Carolina, 109-58. Rob Gray finished with 19 points and 11 assists, while teammate Armoni Brooks shot 7-for-9 from beyond the arc in scoring 21 points.
— Allerik Freeman scored 25 points in leading North Carolina State past No. 25 Florida State 92-72. Torin Dorn added 19 points and Sam Hunt had 14 in the Wolf Pack’s 20th victory.
Rinne, Predators blank Blues 4-0
UNDATED (AP) — The Nashville Predators have regained sole possession of first place in the NHL’s Central Division behind Pekka Rinne’s (PEH’-kuh REE’-nayz) sixth shutout of the season.
Rinne turned back 27 shots and the Predators moved two points ahead of the Jets by blanking the slumping Blues, 4-0. The netminder is 5-1-1 with a 1.96 goals-against average and a .938 save percentage over his last seven starts.
Colton Sissons put Nashville ahead to stay with a power-play goal 4:45 into the game. Austin Watson, Kevin Fiala and Scott Hartnell also scored in the Predators’ fourth consecutive win.
Elsewhere on NHL ice:
— Benoit Pouliot (BEHN’-wah POO’-lee-aht) and Kyle Okposo (ah-POH’-soh) scored on consecutive shots in the first period before the Sabres dealt the Bruins their second straight loss, 4-1. Chad Johnson stopped 34 shots in his second win over the Bruins this month. The outcome keeps Boston five points behind the Atlantic Division-leading Lightning.
— Jared Spurgeon notched the game-winner at 4:48 of overtime to five the Wild a 3-2 victory against the Sharks. Matt Cullen and Eric Staal also scored after Minnesota took a 2-0 lead in the second period.
— Ryan Strome (strohm) scored twice, but the Oilers blew a 4-2 lead in the final 21 seconds of regulation before Leon Draisaitl and Connor McDavid scored shootout goals to complete a 6-5 win at Anaheim. Rickard Rakell (rah-KEHL’) completed a hat trick by providing the Ducks’ last two goals in regulation, allowing them to run their home point streak to six games.
— The Red Wings pulled out a 3-2 win over the Rangers on Trevor Daley’s tip-in with 5.6 seconds remaining in overtime. New York suffered its seventh straight loss after retiring Jean Ratelle’s (rah-TEHLZ’) jersey No. 19.
— Daniel Sedin’s (seh-DEENZ’) second goal of the night broke a 1-1 tie midway through the third period of the Canucks’ 3-1 verdict over the Coyotes. Darren Archibald scored a short-handed goal with 5:52 to go, and Jacob Markstrom stopped 41 shots to help Vancouver win for the second time in six games.
Teams make moves before trading deadline
UNDATED (AP) — The Bruins continue to retool their lineup as they try to win the NHL’s Atlantic Division.
The B’s have acquired left wing Rick Nash from the Rangers and added depth up front by signing veteran right wing Brian Gionta (jee-AHN’-tah). New York received forwards Ryan Spooner and Matt Beleskey, defenseman Ryan Lindgren, a first-round pick in this year’s draft and a seventh-rounder in 2019.
Nash scored a career-high 42 goals with the 2014-15 Rangers, but he’s managed just 56 goals and 102 points in 187 games over the last three years. Nash has 18 goals and 28 points in 60 games this season.
Nash made his Boston debut in Sunday’s loss to the Sabres.
Spooner has played just 39 games for Boston this season but has almost as many points as Nash, contributing nine goals, 16 assists and a plus-10.
The 39-year-old Gionta returns to the NHL after playing for the U.S. Men’s hockey team at Pyeongchang. He held off signing with an NHL team in free agency last summer to pursue an opportunity to compete at the Olympics.
Gionta has scored 289 goals and 588 points in 1,006 NHL games, including 15 goals and 35 points for the Sabres last season.
In other NHL news:
— The Maple Leafs have acquired forwards Tomas Plekanec (pleh-KAN’-ehts) and Kyle Baun from the Canadiens for defenseman Rinat Valiev, forward Kerby Rychel and a 2018 second-round draft pick. Plekanec had six goals and 18 assists in 60 games with Montreal this season, while Baun has spent the year in the AHL.
— The Predators have shipped forward Pontus Aberg to the Oilers for forward Mark Letestu, who was then dealt to Columbus for a fourth-round pick.
— The Hurricanes say the infant daughter of team co-captain Jordan Staal has died. Staal missed the team’s two games this weekend because of family and personal reasons.
Harvick completes Georgia dominance
HAMPTON, Ga. (AP) — Kevin Harvick has capped a dominant weekend of racing by holding off Brad Keselowski in the rain-delayed NASCAR Monster Energy Cup race at Atlanta Motor Speedway.
Harvick was comfortably ahead when Trevor Bayne’s engine blew with 28 laps to go. The restart gave contenders a chance to grab the lead, but Harvick beat Keselowski to remain in control.
Harvick began the race in the second row after winning Saturday’s Xfinity event. He had the third-fastest time in Friday’s qualifier.
Clint Bowyer (BOY’-ur) was third in Atlanta, followed by Denny Hamlin and Martin Truex Jr. Truex had to start from the back row after failing inspection following Friday’s qualifying.
Thomas wins PGA event in playoff
PALM BEACH GARDENS, Fla. (AP) — Justin Thomas nearly holed a wedge that got him into a playoff, and then hit 3-wood over the water and onto the green to beat Luke List in a sudden-death playoff Sunday in the Honda Classic.
Thomas closed with a 2-under 68 and won for the second time this season. He also won in a playoff at the CJ Cup in South Korea last fall.
List was going for his first PGA Tour victory. He put the pressure on Thomas by reaching the par-5 18th in two in regulation, two-putting for birdie and a 69. But he missed the fairway in the playoff and made par.
Tiger Woods was briefly within three shots of the lead on the front nine. He closed with a 70 and finished 12th.
Record-setting Korda wins LPGA Thailand
CHONBURI, Thailand (AP) — Florida’s Jessica Korda set a tournament record in winning the LPGA Thailand, her first title in three years.
Korda held off Lexi Thompson and local hope Moriya Jutanugarn (juh-TAN’-uh-garn) for a four-stroke win after a final-round 67. Her 25-under total smashed the previous mark of 22 under set by Amy Yang of South Korea in 2017.
Morrison goes to Twins
UNDATED (AP) — The Minnesota Twins have added a productive bat to their lineup.
A person with knowledge of the negotiations says the Twins have worked out a one-year, $6.5 million deal with free-agent slugger Logan Morrison.
Morrison hit a career-high 38 home runs and drove in 85 runs while playing a career-best 149 games. His .868 OPS in 2017 would have led the Twins.
In other baseball news:
— Phillies infielder Will Middlebrooks broke his left leg in a collision with teammate Andrew Pullin during Saturday’s exhibition game against the Orioles. Middlebrooks was playing third base when he went back into left field attempting to grab a popup. His ankle tangled underneath Pullin as the ball fell for a base hit.
— Free agent reliever Matt Belisle (BEHL’-eye-ul) has agreed to a minor league contract with the Indians and would get a $1.5 million, one-year deal if added to the 40-man big league roster.