Lakers top Thunder 125-110 without LeBron, Anthony Davis
OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — The Los Angeles Lakers fully expected victory, even without LeBron James and Anthony Davis.
Kyle Kuzma was among those who took advantage. He scored a season-high 36 points and the Lakers rolled past the Oklahoma City Thunder, 125-110 on Saturday night.
Lakers coach Frank Vogel said James had a chest cold. James is averaging 25.4 points, a league-leading 10.7 assists and 8.7 rebounds and has helped the Lakers to the best record in the Western Conference.
Davis, who leads the Lakers with 27.1 points per game, sat out for his second straight game with a gluteus maximus contusion.
Still, the Lakers felt they had enough to win, even against a Thunder team that had won 11 of 13.
“That’s why you have a great team,” said Quinn Cook, who led the Lakers’ reserves with 13 points. “We want to have guys who contribute one through 15. That’s the goal of anybody putting a team together. Obviously, this team is talented. Everybody is selfless and everybody is ready. We all put the work in.”
Kuzma, in just his third start of the season, made 15 of 24 shots.
“I just got an opportunity to get scoring opportunities, having the ball in my hands,” Kuzma said.
Rajon Rondo added 21 points, 12 rebounds and eight assists for the Lakers. Los Angeles shot 51.5% to win its eighth in a row.
“Rondo set the tone for us,” Kuzma said. “Going right after CP (Chris Paul) right out of the gate, being aggressive with his scoring. A lot of times, everybody knows him as a pass-first guy. He came out today in attack mode.”
James played on Friday night and had 35 points, 16 rebounds and seven assists in a win over the Dallas Mavericks.
Feagin, No. 7 SDSU beat Boise State 83-65 to stay undefeated
SAN DIEGO (AP) — With Viejas Arena rocking like it did during Kawhi Leonard’s short stay at San Diego State, KJ Feagin and the No. 7 Aztecs knocked out Boise State in the opening minutes.
Feagin made three 3-pointers in the first seven minutes and Malachi Flynn added two, helping the Aztecs race to a 14-point lead. They never let up, beating the Broncos 83-65 on Saturday night to remain undefeated and continue chasing school history.
Feagin scored 16 of his season-high 23 points in the first half, Yanni Wetzell added 20 and Flynn had 19 for the Aztecs (17-0, 6-0 Mountain West). San Diego State and Auburn remain the nation’s only undefeated teams.
“From the first jumper I knew that it was going to be one of those breakout games,” said Feagin, a graduate transfer from Santa Clara. “I’m just happy to get out of that slump I was in, so now it’s about stringing some good games along and not letting it be just one out of the few games that I play well.”
Feagin made four 3-pointers to help SDSU to a 48-25 halftime lead.
“KJ Feagin showed up offensively,” coach Brian Dutcher said. “He’s been good all year so everybody’s been waiting for the breakout game and this is definitely the breakout game.”
SDSU continued its hottest start since 2010-11, when it opened 20-0 behind Leonard and reached the Sweet 16 for the first time before finishing a school-record 34-3.
RJ Williams scored 16 for Boise State (11-7, 3-3).
USC beats crosstown rival UCLA 74-63 for 7th win in 8 games
LOS ANGELES (AP) — Nick Rakocevic is a senior, so time is running out for him to enjoy beating UCLA.
He got a chance to savor such a win with 17 points and 14 rebounds for Southern California, a 74-63 victor over the Bruins on Saturday night. It was the Trojans’ seventh win in eight games.
“I really wanted this bad,” Rakocevic said. “It was really important to me to get this win.”
Fellow senior Jonah Mathews added 16 points and Ethan Anderson, a freshman playing in the rivalry game for the first time, had a career-high 14 points despite rolling his ankle and briefly leaving the court midway through the second half.
The Trojans (13-3, 2-1 Pac-12) bounced back from a 32-point loss at Washington last week in which they scored a season-low 40 points. Rakocevic had six points and eight rebounds in that game.
“I probably played one of my worst games against Washington and tonight I probably played one of my best,” he said. “We have to move on and forget about the bad games.”
Chris Smith scored 11 of his 16 points in the first half and grabbed 10 rebounds, and Jalen Hill added 14 points for UCLA (8-8, 1-2), which never got a sustained run going in front of 13,659, their first sellout and most spirited crowd of the season.
Martin sparks UC Riverside past Cal State Fullerton, 65-59
RIVERSIDE (AP) — Dikymbe Martin had 13 points off the bench to lift UC Riverside to a 65-59 win over Cal State Fullerton on Saturday.
Dominick Pickett had 10 points for UC Riverside (12-6, 2-0 Big West Conference). Arinze Chidom added nine rebounds and George Willborn III had 7 points and 10 rebounds.
Brandon Kamga scored a season-high 20 points for the Titans (5-12, 0-2). Jackson Rowe added 14 points and 11 rebounds and Austen Awosika had 13 points.
UC Riverside takes on Cal State Northridge at home on Thursday. Cal State Fullerton plays UC Irvine at home on Wednesday.
49ers win 1st playoff game in 6 years, 27-10 over Vikings
SANTA CLARA (AP) — Richard Sherman anticipated the route for an interception and then watched the San Francisco 49ers run eight straight times for the touchdown that put them in control of their first playoff game in six years.
The dominant defense and powerful running game that carried the Niners to an 8-0 start this season delivered a 27-10 victory over the Minnesota Vikings in the divisional round Saturday.
“People keep disrespecting us. At the end of the day, all you can do is go out and execute,” Sherman said. “It felt good. That’s what we look like when we’re totally healthy.”
The return of injured defensive starters Dee Ford, Kwon Alexander and Jaquiski Tartt had the Niners (14-3) playing as they did in the first half of the season as they set a franchise playoff record by allowing only 147 yards.
Jimmy Garoppolo threw a TD pass on his opening drive as a playoff starter and then mostly watched his defense and running game take over from there. The top-seeded 49ers turned a pair of second-half turnovers by Minnesota (11-7) into 10 points.
“They’re pretty good right?” tight end George Kittle said of his defense. “It’s such a blast just to watch them, how they work together. …
“If our defense keeps playing like that, all we have to do is not turn the ball over to win games”
Sherman set up Tevin Coleman’s second short touchdown run of the game when he beat Adam Thielen to the spot to intercept Kirk Cousins for his third career playoff interception.
Coleman had five of the eight carries on the 44-yard drive as part of a 105-yard rushing performance.
“Those guys did very well,” Coleman said of his offensive line. “They moved the guys back so I had clear holes to run through. So, yeah, they did a real good job.”
Marcus Sherels’ fumbled punt later in the third quarter led to a field goal that made it 27-10 early in the fourth quarter.
Titans stun Ravens, head to AFC title game with 28-12 win
BALTIMORE (AP) — With his bright red shoes and relentless running, Derrick Henry grabbed the spotlight and wouldn’t let go.
When he was done leading Tennessee into the AFC championship game Saturday night, he did a lengthy victory lap around the Baltimore Ravens’ home, slapping hands and taking selfies with Titans fans.
It has been quite a two-week ride.
“It’s not just me,” Henry said after rushing for 195 yards and throwing a 3-yard touchdown pass in a 28-12 upset of the NFL’s top team Saturday night. “It’s a team effort. We’re all playing collectively as an offense, as a whole. We’re just locked in. We believe in each other. We communicate. It’s working out there.”
The Titans fear no one, and why should they with Henry rushing — and even throwing — the ball, and a big-play defense making clutch stops and turnovers?
One week after dominating defending Super Bowl champion New England, the Titans (11-7) eliminated Baltimore (14-3). The Ravens had won their last 12 games, with quarterback Lamar Jackson setting records and looking unstoppable.
On Saturday night, it was Henry who was unstoppable, despite Baltimore stacking eight men up front on almost two-thirds of his runs. At times, Henry used power to create space, at others the holes the line provided were huge.
“Watch us work,” said Henry, the NFL’s leading rusher this season. “We don’t do too much talking. We just go work and believe in each other. That’s our mentality. We’re going to come in here and work. … Focus on finishing.”
Tennessee’s defense had two interceptions of All-Pro QB Jackson, who also lost a fumble, and the Titans twice stopped Baltimore on fourth-and-1.
Henry’s jump-pass to Corey Davis displayed yet another of his skills. He has completed three throws in four attempts in his career.
“I put it perfect, man,” he said with a smile. “I haven’t done that pass since high school. I feel l like I still got it.”
Patriots star Edelman arrested for vandalism
BEVERLY HILLS (AP) — New England Patriots star Julian Edelman was arrested in Southern California on suspicion of misdemeanor vandalism after jumping on the hood of someone’s car, authorities said Sunday.
Edelman, 33, caused unspecified damage when he jumped on the vehicle Saturday night on a commercial block of Beverly Hills, police Lt. Elisabeth Albanese said in a statement.
Edelman was released on a citation and is scheduled to appear in court April 13. It wasn’t known Sunday if he had an attorney, and the Patriots had no immediate comment.
The wide receiver made huge plays during the Patriots’ historic comeback against Atlanta in the Super Bowl following the 2016 season, which New England won 34-28. He won Super Bowl MVP honors in New England’s 20-17 victory last season against the Rams.
Edelman led the Patriots during the 2019 regular season with 100 receptions, 1,117 yards and six touchdowns. But nagging injuries took a toll. He was mostly a non-factor in New England’s 20-13 wild-card upset loss to the Tennessee Titans.
Syracuse tabs Zach Arnett as new defensive coordinator
SYRACUSE, N.Y. (AP) — Syracuse coach Dino Babers named Zach Arnett as the Orange’s new defensive coordinator on Saturday.
Arnett joins the Orange after serving as defensive coordinator and linebackers coach at San Diego State the past two seasons.
“He learned under a great defensive mind in Rocky Long at San Diego State and excelled when he got the opportunity to run the defense there,” Babers said. “His qualities, both as a person and as a professional, are an excellent fit for our program.”
Arnett, who has spent his entire coaching career studying under Long, led a 2019 San Diego State defense that ranked in the top 10 nationally in seven categories. The Aztecs finished second in rushing defense (75.4 yards per game), third in scoring defense (12.7 points per game), fourth in interceptions (18), fourth in first downs allowed (198), sixth in total defense (287.8), sixth in passing efficiency defense (110.25) and eighth in turnovers gained (27).
Hurricanes shut out Kings 2-0 behind Reimer’s 41 saves
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — The only thing better than having a hot goalie is having two of them.
James Reimer made 41 saves as the Carolina Hurricanes posted a shutout for the second consecutive game with a 2-0 win over the Los Angeles Kings on Saturday night. One night earlier, Petr Mrazek stopped 32 shots as the Hurricanes won 3-0 over Arizona.
It was the first time in franchise history that different goalies posted shutouts on back-to-back nights.
“It’s nice to have a couple games like that where our goalies have been solid,” Hurricanes coach Rod Brind’Amour said. “Especially tonight. Tonight (Reimer) is the reason we got the win.”
Ultimately, Reimer was just a bit better for a team that has been fortunate to have strong goaltending for most of the season. For the first time in franchise history, two goaltenders have recorded at least three shutouts this season for the Hurricanes.
“You don’t have the goaltending, you’re not going to go very far,” Brind’Amour said. “When you look at a team and they’re having success, the goaltending is obviously right up there, and tonight, Captain Obvious, that was the difference.”
Nino Niederreiter scored the opening goal 4:52 into the first period and Reimer took care of the rest to help Carolina earn its third consecutive win and finish a seven game homestand with a 5-2-0 record. Teuvo Teravainen added an empty-net goal with four seconds remaining.
Padres, Yates agree to $7M deal; Pham gets $7.9M
SAN DIEGO (AP) — All-Star closer Kirby Yates, who led the major leagues with 41 saves, agreed Friday to a one-year contract for $7,062,500 with the San Diego Padres.
Yates was named to his first All-Star team in his first full season as closer. He had 101 strikeouts in 60 2/3 innings. He and the Padres have been discussing a long-term deal.
San Diego agreed to deals with all of its arbitration-eligible players. New left fielder Tommy Pham got a $7.9 million deal, right-hander Zach Davies a $5,250,000 contract and catcher Austin Hedges got $3 million.
The Padres agreed with right-hander Dinelson Lamet for $1.3 million, center fielder Manuel Margot for $2,475,000, right-hander Luis Perdomo for $950,000 and left-hander Matt Strahm for $1.4 million
Pham was acquired from Tampa Bay in a deal that sent slugger Hunter Renfroe to the Rays. Pham batted .273 with 21 homers, 68 RBIs, 25 stolen bases and an .818 OPS.
Davies was obtained from Milwaukee with outfielder Trent Grisham for popular young second baseman Luis Urías and left-hander Eric Lauer, who was San Diego’s opening day starter in 2019. Davies was 10-7 with a 3.55 ERA in 2019.
Hedges is one of the top defensive catchers in the majors but struggled so badly at the plate that he began to lose playing time to Francisco Mejía and could be relegated to backup duty. He hit only .176 with 11 home runs and a .252 on-base percentage.
Bellinger agrees with Dodgers at $11.5M; Seager at $7.6M
LOS ANGELES (AP) — NL MVP Cody Bellinger agreed Friday to an $11.5 million, one-year contract with the Los Angeles Dodgers, the largest salary for a player eligible for arbitration for the first time.
Shortstop Corey Seager agreed to a $7.6 million, one-year deal with the Dodgers, also skipping arbitration.
Los Angeles is headed toward arbitration with four players. Outfielder Joc Pederson requested a $9.5 million salary while the Dodgers offered $7.75 million, outfielder Chris Taylor is seeking $5.8 million and was offered $5.25 million, infielder Max Muncy wants $4,675,000 and was offered $4 million, and reliever Pedro Báez faces a gap of $4 million versus $3.5 million.
The Dodgers also reached one-year deals with right-hander Ross Stripling ($2.1 million), left-hander Julio Urías ($1 million) and infielder-outfielder Enrique Hernández ($5.9 million). They were all eligible for arbitration.
Bellinger, the 2017 NL Rookie of the Year, hit .305 with a career-high 47 homers and 115 RBIs, a bargain at $605,000. He also won a Gold Glove Award for his outfield play. With 2 years, 160 days of major league service, Bellinger is eligible for arbitration three more times and can become a free agent after the 2023 season.
Bellinger’s deal tops the old mark of $10.85 million on a one-year deal for Kris Bryant of the Chicago Cubs in January 2018.
Seager, the 2016 NL Rookie of the Year, missed most of the 2018 season following Tommy John surgery. He hit .272 with 19 homers and 87 RBIs this year, tying for the NL lead with 44 doubles. He earned a raise from a $4 million salary last year.
Angels agree to 1-year deals with Bedrosian, Stassi
ANAHEIM (AP) — Relief pitcher Cam Bedrosian agreed to a $2.8 million, one-year contract with the Los Angeles Angels on Thursday that avoided arbitration, and catcher Max Stassi struck an $800,000, one-year deal.
Bedrosian, a 28-year-old right-hander, completed his sixth season in the Angels’ bullpen last year with a 3.23 ERA in 59 appearances, including seven short starts. His 1.14 WHIP was his best since 2016, but he converted just one of his four save opportunities. He made $1.75 million.
Stassi had a $590,100 salary last year and was eligible for arbitration for the first time.
Los Angeles acquired Stassi from Houston on July 31, and he batted .071 with two RBIs in 20 games for the Angels. He is expected to team up with newcomer Jason Castro to form a strong defensive duo behind the plate this season.
Stassi, who turns 29 in March, played in parts of seven seasons with the Astros.
Six Angels remained eligible for arbitration going into Friday’s scheduled exchange of proposed salaries: outfielder Brian Goodwin, infielder Tommy La Stella and pitchers Andrew Heaney, Keynan Middleton, Noé Ramirez and Hansel Robles.