Thursday, March 26
Cousins scores 24 points, Kings top Suns 108-99
PHOENIX (AP) — DeMarcus Cousins scored 24 points, all but four coming in the first three quarters, and grabbed 11 rebounds to help the Sacramento Kings beat the Phoenix Suns 108-99 on Thursday night.
Cousins also had three assists, two steals and a block, and Rudy Gay scored 14 points for the Kings, who have won four straight.
Markieff Morris scored 24 points, and Eric Bledsoe and Marcus Morris added 19 each for the Suns, who had their four-game winning streak snapped.
Phoenix squandered an opportunity to make up a game on eighth-place Oklahoma City in the Western Conference. The Thunder were routed 130-91 earlier Thursday at San Antonio. Phoenix trails Oklahoma City by three games for the West's final playoff spot.
Clarkson shines in OT to lead Lakers over Wolves, 101-99
MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Jordan Clarkson hit two free throws with 0.3 seconds left in overtime to send the Los Angeles Lakers over the Minnesota Timberwolves, 101-99 on Wednesday night.
Clarkson scored eight points in overtime and finished with 20. Jeremy Lin added 19 points for the Lakers, who snapped a five-game road losing streak and won for the second time in three games.
Andrew Wiggins had 27 points for Minnesota.
Chase Budinger scored 22 and sent the game into overtime with a 3-pointer with 6.6 seconds left in regulation as the Timberwolves erased a 13-point, second-half deficit.
Jordan goes 7 for 7, Clippers pound Knicks 111-80
NEW YORK (AP) — DeAndre Jordan raised the NBA's best shooting percentage above 71 percent by making all seven shots and scoring 14 points, and the Los Angeles Clippers pounded the New York Knicks 111-80 on Wednesday night.
Shooting all night from either right at or above the rim — and once right on top of Jason Smith — Jordan hiked his season average to .713, which would be second only to Wilt Chamberlain's .727 in 1972-73.
Chris Paul added 11 points and 16 assists for the Clippers, who won their fifth straight and improved the fourth-best record in the Western Conference to 47-25. Austin Rivers scored 21 points in 19 minutes off the bench.
The only negative for Jordan was grabbing only 10 rebounds — the Clipper starters played less than 30 minutes — to end his streak of games with at least 14 rebounds at 19.
Like home: Wisconsin back in California for NCAA regional
LOS ANGELES (AP) — Bo Ryan is trippin' about being back in the NCAA West Regional.
First, the Wisconsin coach has the same man escorting him around that he did last year, when the Badgers won the regional in Anaheim. Then Ryan bumped into coach Sean Miller, whose Arizona team lost to the Badgers in a tight game to get to the Final Four.
So Ryan feels right at home in Los Angeles, and he's hoping Frank Kaminsky & Co. do, too.
The top-seeded Badgers (33-3) take on fourth-seeded North Carolina (26-11) in a regional semifinal on Thursday night at Staples Center. The teams are meeting in the NCAA Tournament for the second time and the first since 2006. The Tar Heels won both games.
North Carolina hasn't been this far since 2012, although the Tar Heels are 25-6 all-time in regional semifinals.
Coaches Miller, Mack get reunion when Arizona faces Xavier
LOS ANGELES (AP) — Nearly six years after Sean Miller left Xavier for Arizona, the bonds between the schools' coaching staffs still run wide and deep.
That friendship will get a little spice Thursday night when coach Chris Mack's sixth-seeded Musketeers (23-13) attempt to pull off a major upset of his former boss' second-seeded Wildcats (33-3).
When Miller left Cincinnati, he lobbied for his longtime lead assistant to replace him. Mack has maintained Xavier's consistent success with three Sweet 16 trips, while Miller has led his West Coast powerhouse to this round four times in five years.
Although their game plans and coaching styles still have many similarities all these years later, Mack is pretty sure he has a little more fun.
The serious Miller "needs to loosen up," according to his former assistant.
Tulowitzki homers, Butler strong in Rockies' win over Giants
SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. (AP) — Troy Tulowitzki hit his third home run of the spring, Eddie Butler threw five effective innings in an audition for a rotation spot, and the Colorado Rockies beat the San Francisco Giants 5-2 on Wednesday.
Giants starter Tim Hudson retired 10 straight before Corey Dickerson's single. Tulowitzki followed by crushing a first-pitch sinker onto the left field berm in a three-run fourth.
Tulowitzki went 2 for 3 and is hitting .375 in his return from season-ending hip surgery.
Hudson allowed three runs and six hits in six innings. The 39-year-old right-hander also doubled off the left field wall.
The 24-year-old Butler, who was 8 when Hudson made his big league debut, allowed one run and five hits and needed only 56 pitches against San Francisco's likely opening-day lineup.
The right-hander has a chance to start following the release of Jhoulys Chacin and with Jorge De La Rosa injured.
Puig hits 4th spring homer, Dodgers beat Padres
GLENDALE, Ariz. (AP) — Yasiel Puig hit his fourth home run this spring, sending the Los Angeles Dodgers to a 9-5 victory over the San Diego Padres on Wednesday.
Puig connected for a two-run shot in the first inning against Jason Lane. The drive sailed over the left field fence and off the wall of the Dodgers' complex at Camelback Ranch.
Puig, who also singled, hit the first of four Dodger homers. Joc Pederson and Justin Turner hit solo shots in the fourth and Scott Van Slyke added a solo shot in the sixth.
Lane, a converted outfielder, gave up the first three homers. The left-hander homered himself in the fifth inning.
Derek Norris had a two-run homer for the Padres.
Haden says email confirm USC treated unfairly by NCAA
LOS ANGELES (AP) — Southern California athletic director Pat Haden says private email between members of the NCAA committee on infractions made public as part of a lawsuit by a former Trojans assistant coach confirm the school was treated unfairly in the association's handling of the Reggie Bush case.
Haden said in a statement released Wednesday that the "documents are cause for concern about the NCAA's own institutional controls."
USC was banned from the postseason for two seasons and stripped of dozens after an NCAA investigation determined Bush and his family received cash and gifts from aspiring marketers in 2004 and 2005.
Former Trojans running backs Todd McNair sued the NCAA in June 2011, claiming the association's investigation was one-sided and his future earnings were hurt by its report on the Bush scandal.
Stanford announces series with Vanderbilt, TCU
STANFORD, Calif. (AP) — Stanford has agreed to a pair of series with Vanderbilt and TCU.
Stanford and Vanderbilt announced Wednesday that they will meet four times between 2021 and 2027. The Cardinal will play at Vanderbilt in 2021 and 2025, while the Commodores will travel to Stanford in 2024 and 2027.
The two private schools have never played each other, and the Cardinal have never played a Southeastern Conference opponent at Stanford Stadium. Commodores coach Derek Mason is a former defensive coordinator under Stanford's David Shaw, and their relationship no doubt sprung this series.
In addition, Stanford will play a home-and-home series with TCU. The Horned Frogs will come to Stanford in 2024, and the Cardinal will go to Fort Worth in 2027.
The programs last played in 2007 and 2008. TCU won both games.
America's Cup organizers want smaller, cheaper boats
SAN DIEGO (AP) — In another sign that billionaire Larry Ellison's vision for the America's Cup is too expensive, organizers say they want to reduce the size of the boat to be used in the 2017 regatta in Bermuda.
While intended to help some struggling syndicates, the unprecedented move also would reduce the status and prestige of sailing's marquee regatta, not to mention the sizzle generated when the 2013 America's Cup was sailed in 72-foot boats.
And it could be troublesome. Not all teams are in favor of going from plans to sail 62-foot catamarans to apparently sailing 45-foot catamarans.
A news release said the changes are being drafted and teams will be asked to vote before the end of March. It wasn't clear whether the vote must be unanimous. It's believed Italy's Luna Rossa is against the change.
NASCAR issues penalties to No. 33 Cup team, Xfinity team
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (AP) — NASCAR has fined and suspended the crew chief of a Richard Childress Racing-affiliated team.
The sanctioning body fined Slugger Labbe $50,000, suspended him the next three races and placed him on probation until Dec. 31. Car owner Joe Falk was docked 25 owner points.
The penalties stemmed from a rules infraction discovered during opening day inspection March 20 at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, California. Xfinity Series regular Brian Scott was driving the No. 33 Chevrolet at Fontana. The infraction involved the improper mounting and assembly of the car's truck trailing arm.
NASCAR also issued behavioral penalties to five Xfinity crew members for failure to comply with a directive from track security during pre-race activities March 21 at Auto Club. The crew members — Mark Armstrong, Tyler Bullard, Nathaniel House, Jeremy Howard and Ryan Mulder — were working for driver Blake Koch's No. 8 team.
Armstrong was fined $1,500 and suspended until April 21. Armstrong, Bullard, House, Howard and Mulder were placed on probation until the end of the year.