Cavs win, but Pacers keep pace
UNDATED (AP) — The Cleveland Cavaliers were able to keep their half-game lead over second-place Indiana in the NBA’s Central Division.
Larry Nance Jr. provided career highs of 22 points and 15 rebounds in his first start for the Cavaliers to help them hammer the Pistons, 112-90. Nance started in place of Tristan Thompson, who is out with a right ankle injury.
LeBron James shot 5-for-7 from 3-point range and finished with 31 points, seven rebounds and seven assists before sitting out the fourth quarter with the outcome secured.
The Pacers stayed on Cleveland’s heels by getting 29 points from Bojan (BOY’-ahn) Bogdanovic in a 92-89 win over the Bucks. Bogdanovic also helped Indiana secure the victory by winning a jump ball just before hitting two free throws with six seconds left to close the scoring.
Milwaukee All-Star Giannis Antetokounmpo (YAH’-nihs an-teh-toh-KOOM’-poh) had 18 points and 12 rebounds but missed a potential game-tying 3-point attempt as time expired.
Checking out Monday’s other NBA action:
— Damian Lillard scored 19 of his game-high 39 points in the fourth quarter as the Trail Blazers downed the Lakers, 108-103 to take a one-game lead over Minnesota in the Northwest Division. Lillard scored 15 straight Portland points in the final period after Los Angeles carried an 80-73 lead into the quarter. CJ McCollum had 22 points, and Jusuf Nurkic added 16 points and 16 rebounds as the Blazers ended the Lakers’ five-game winning streak.
— Jaylen Brown scored 21 points on 9 of 13 shooting and the Celtics carried a 33-point lead into the final period of a 105-89 blowout over the Bulls. Boston pulled within 1 ½ games of Toronto for the Eastern Conference lead despite playing without Kyrie Irving because of a sore knee.
— Tony Parker had 23 points and the Spurs ended a four-game home losing streak by escaping with a 100-98 triumph over the lowly Grizzlies. Davis Bertans added 17 points and Danny Green had 14 as San Antonio dealt Memphis its 14th consecutive loss.
— The Jazz won for the 15th time in their last 17 games as Rudy Gobert’s (goh-BEHRZ’) 21 points and 17 rebounds led a 94-80 decision over Orlando. Donovan Mitchell scored 19 points and Joe Ingles added 18 points, eight assists and seven rebounds to help Utah get within 1 ½ games of the final Western Conference playoff slot.
— The Heat have taken over the seventh seed in the East after Hassan Whiteside contributed 24 points and 14 boards to a 125-103 pounding of the Suns. Goran Dragic finished with 17 points and Kelly Olynyk added 15 as Miami beat Phoenix for the 18th time in their last 20 meetings.
Cowboys tag Lawrence
UNDATED (AP) — The Dallas Cowboys have placed their franchise tag on Pro Bowl defensive end DeMarcus Lawrence, who is coming off a breakout season.
The move means Lawrence is guaranteed $17.5 million for the upcoming season unless the Cowboys can sign him to a long-term contract. Lawrence is required to receive the average of the NFL’s five highest-paid defensive ends while a franchise player.
Lawrence tied Jacksonville’s Calais Campbell for second in the NFL with 14 1/2 sacks last season. He struggled with injuries for three seasons after being taken in the second round of the 2014 draft.
Also around the NFL:
— Veteran cornerback Antonio Cromartie has formally announced his retirement at age 33. Cromartie played 11 NFL seasons and was an All-Pro in his second, leading the league with 10 interceptions for the 2007 Chargers. He spent the first four years of his pro career in San Diego and played five of his final seven seasons with the Jets. Cromartie had 31 career interceptions while earning four Pro Bowl berths.
— The Falcons have agreed to terms on a three-year contract extension with kicker Matt Bryant, eight days before he would have become a free agent. Bryant has hit 88.1 of his field goal attempts during his nine seasons with the Falcons, making 230 of 261 while missing just two of 340 extra points. He was 34 of 39 in field goals last season, including eight of nine from at least 50 yards.
— The Raiders have released pass rusher Aldon Smith, one day after his latest run-in with the law. San Francisco police said authorities were searching for Smith in connection with a domestic violence allegation Smith has been on the suspended list since November 2015 for violating the NFL’s policy on substance abuse..
COLLEGE BASKETBALL-CONFERENCE TOURNAMENTS
Iona gets NCAA berth by taking conference tourney
UNDATED (AP) — Seventh-ranked Gonzaga remains in line for its sixth consecutive West Coast Conference tournament title following its 13th consecutive victory. The Zags’ next opponent won’t be their archrivals.
Killian Tillie continued his outstanding shooting in the tournament while scoring a game-high 26 points to lead the Bulldogs to an 88-60 rout of San Francisco in the semifinals. Tillie shot 10-for-11 from the field, including 5-for-5 from 3-point range. He has made all 10 of his 3-point attempts in the WCC tournament and is 19 of 23 overall.
Rui Hachimura had 17 points and Zach Norvell Jr. added 14 for the Zags, who have won 16 straight conference tournament games.
The other semifinal game was a minor stunner as Brigham Young advanced with an 85-72 triumph over No. 20 Saint Mary’s. Yoeli Childs poured in 33 points on 13 of 18 shooting and Elijah Bryant added 25 for the Cougars.
In other men’s conference tournaments:
— Iona has earned an automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament by winning the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference tourney for the third straight year. Roland Griffin scored a career-high 29 points and Zach Lewis had 20 as the Gaels beat Fairfield, 83-71. Griffin and Lewis combined for 30 points in helping Iona take a 43-37 halftime lead.
MEN’S COLLEGE BASKETBALL POLL
Virginia is unanimous No. 1
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — Virginia is now the unanimous No. 1 team in The Associated Press men’s basketball poll, receiving all 65 first-place votes after becoming the first ACC team to go 9-0 on the road in league play.
The Cavaliers also won their home finale to finish 17-1 in the conference and improve to 28-2 heading into the ACC Tournament.
Villanova is second, followed by Xavier, Michigan State and Duke. The Wildcats traded places with Xavier by beating the Musketeers over the weekend, while the Spartans fell two spots after losing to Michigan in the Big Ten semifinals.
Gonzaga is sixth, the Wolverines moved up eight spots to seventh, Cincinnati climbed two notches to eighth, Kansas slipped three spots to ninth and Purdue dropped from eighth to 10th.
WOMEN’S COLLEGE BASKETBALL POLL
UConn still top team in AP women’s basketball poll
NEW YORK (AP) — UConn continues to be the unanimous No. 1 pick in the AP women’s basketball poll after running their record to 30-0.
Baylor moved up to second and Louisville third after then-No. 2 Mississippi State lost to South Carolina in the SEC title game. The Bulldogs slipped to fourth. Notre Dame was fifth.
Oregon, South Carolina, Texas, UCLA and Ohio State round out the top 10.
Pens outlast Flames in OT
UNDATED (AP) — The Pittsburgh Penguins have climbed into second place in the NHL’s Metropolitan Division, just one point behind the Washington Capitals.
The Penguins earned their second straight overtime win as Justin Schultz tallied 2:36 into the extra period to complete a 4-3 decision over the Flames. Pittsburgh blew leads of 2-0 and 3-2 before winning for the eighth time in 11 games.
Evgeni Malkin scored his team-high 37th goal and Tristan Jarry stopped 35 shots for the Pens.
Troy Brouwer scored the tying goal in the second period and had an assist for Calgary, which is three points behind the Kings for the final Western Conference playoff berth.
Elsewhere on NHL ice:
— The Senators beat the Stars 3-2 in Dallas on Erik Karlsson’s breakaway goal at 2:41 of OT. Tyler Seguin (SAY’-gihn) scored twice for Dallas, which finished the game without goaltender Ben Bishop because of a lower-body injury suffered in the first period. The overtime point gives Dallas a three-point lead over Los Angeles for the first wild-card berth in the Western Conference.
— Jason Pominville, Sam Reinhart and Ryan O’Reilly and Johan Larsson each had a goal and an assist as Buffalo handed the Maple Leafs their fourth straight loss, 5-3. Chard Johnson turned back 38 shots and the Sabres kept Toronto three points behind second-place Boston in the Atlantic Division.
— The Islanders continue to play themselves out of playoff contention as Brendan Leipsic (LYP’-sihk) scored 2:47 in overtime to give the Canucks a 4-3 win over New York. The Isles are four points out of an Eastern Conference postseason slot following their seventh straight loss, the last two coming in overtime.
— Oscar Klefbom’s goal at 50 seconds of overtime ended the Oilers’ 4-3 win over the Coyotes. Jujhar Khaira (JOO’-jahr KEHR’-uh), Milan Lucic (LOO’-cheech) and Jesse Pulujarvi (pool-YAHR’-vee) also scored for Edmonton, with led 3-1 until Christian Dvorak and Niklas Hjalmarsson tallied in the final 8 ½ minutes of regulation.
UNDATED (AP) — Canadiens forward Max Pacioretty (pash-uh-REH’-tee) and defenseman Victor Mete will miss several weeks as they recover from injuries suffered in Friday’s win over the Islanders. Pacioretty suffered a knee injury and is expected to miss four to six weeks, and Mete is projected to sit out six weeks with a fractured finger. Pacioretty had 17 goals and 37 points in 64 games after scoring at least 30 goals in five of the previous six seasons.
Also in the NHL:
— Blues defenseman Jay Bouwmeester (BOH’-mees-tur) will miss the remainder of the season with a left hip injury. The team also says forward Scottie Upshall will be re-evaluated in four weeks after suffering a knee injury in Saturday’s game against the Stars.
— Wild rookie forward Luke Kunin is out for the rest of the season after tearing the ACL in his left knee during Sunday’s win over Detroit. Kunin has recorded two goals and two assists 19 games with Minnesota this season.
Cards, DeJong work out multiyear pact
UNDATED (AP) — The St. Louis Cardinals have worked out a six-year, $26 million package with shortstop Paul DeJong (deh-YUHNG’), a deal that includes club options for 2024 and ’25.
The 24-year-old made his major league debut last May 28 and hit .285 with a team-high 25 homers and 65 RBIs in 108 games. DeJong was a fourth-round pick of the Cardinals in the 2015 amateur draft.
In other news around spring training:
— Thirty-eight year-old Adrian Beltre got hits in his first two spring training at-bats after being held out of the Texas Rangers’ first 10 spring training games. Beltre hit .312 with 17 homers and 71 RBIs in 94 games last year after opening the season on the disabled list with a right calf injury. He also suffered an ankle injury in July and went on the disabled again after pulling his left hamstring on Aug. 31.
— Boston pitcher David Price faced Red Sox minor leaguers on a back field Monday in his first camp outing, throwing three innings under controlled circumstances. Price expects to make his Grapefruit League debut on Saturday against Minnesota.
— Twins right-hander Ervin Santana left spring training for New York to have his injured middle finger examined. Santana is expected to be out until mid-to-late April following surgery on the finger, but he could have a cast removed while in New York.
— The Mariners will be without outfielder Ben Gamel for four to six weeks due to a strained right oblique muscle. Gamel first felt the injury after batting practice late last week.
— Outfielder Alejandro De Aza (day AH’-zah) has agreed to a minor league contract to return to the Nationals. He spent time last season with Washington’s Triple-A Syracuse affiliate and was called up to the majors in August when outfielder Brian Goodwin went on the disabled list.
— The Rays have traded infielder Ryan Schimpf to the Braves for a player to be named or cash. The 29-year-old Schimpf began last season as San Diego’s starting third baseman and batted .158 with 14 homers and 25 RBIs in 53 games.