AP Monday Sports Roundup
Irving returns, Cavs win
UNDATED (AP) — Cleveland Cavaliers guard Kyrie Irving made his season debut this afternoon, his first action since breaking his left kneecap in Game 1 of the NBA Finals against Golden State. Irving played 18 minutes and scored 12 points as the Cavs rolled to a 108-86 rout of the hapless Philadelphia 76ers.
LeBron James finished with 23 points and Matthew Dellavedova added 20 to help the Cavaliers improve to 18-7, tops in the NBA's Eastern Conference.
The 76ers are a league-worst 1-28 following their 10th consecutive loss. Nerlens Noel had 15 points and 12 rebounds for the brutal Sixers, now 0-17 on the road and well on the way to breaking their own NBA record for losses in a season.
In other NBA play:
— Chris Bosh scored 29 points and Hassan Whiteside added 22 and 11 rebounds in Miami's 116-109 win over Portland. The Heat shot 57 percent to protect their lead in the Southeast Division.
— Kyle Korver hit six 3-pointers, including the tiebreaking trey in the final minute of Atlanta's 103-100 win at Orlando. Korver drained four shots from beyond the arc while scoring 13 of his 19 points in the fourth quarter.
— Khris Middleton scored 11 of his 26 points in the fourth quarter and Greg Monroe hit a spinning, go-ahead layup with 20.6 seconds left to guide Milwaukee's 101-95 triumph at Phoenix. The Suns led 86-77 before Middleton scored seven points in a 15-2 spurt.
— Karl-Anthony Towns had 24 points and 10 rebounds in Minnesota's 100-85 win over Brooklyn. Gorgui Dieng added 20 points and 10 boards off the bench.
— Rajon Rondo had 19 points and 13 assists as Sacramento beat Toronto 104-94 to end a four-game road losing streak. Rudy Gay scored 19 points against his former team, and Omri Casspi added 15 points and 11 rebounds for the Kings.
— Anthony Davis scored 27 points despite an illness, and Tyreke Evans and Jrue Holiday added 21 points apiece as New Orleans topped the Nuggets 130-125 in Denver. Davis had 19 points in the first quarter and added eight points while the Pelicans were closing the game on a 19-10 run.
Kidd takes leave due to hip surgery
PHOENIX (AP) — Milwaukee Bucks coach Jason Kidd is taking an indefinite leave to have hip surgery.
General manager John Hammond says assistant coach Joe Prunty will run the team in Kidd's absence. Prunty served as an assistant during Kidd's one year coaching the Brooklyn Nets and has been with Kidd in Milwaukee the past two seasons.
Capitals rip Rangers
UNDATED (AP) — New York Rangers fans were in full throat after their team scored three times in a 4:21 span of the first period against Washington on Sunday. Most of those same fans were scurrying for the exits just a few minutes into the third.
The Capitals chased Henrik Lundqvist while scoring the last six goals in a 7-3 win over the Rangers at Madison Square Garden. Alex Ovechkin provided the tiebreaking tally on a power play before Justin Williams netted his second goal of the night.
Marcus Johansson finished with a goal and two assists, and Nicklas Backstrom collected three assists in the second period to help the Caps pad their leads on two fronts. The Capitals stretched their lead in the NHL's Eastern Conference race to seven points over Montreal, and they moved eight points ahead of the second-place Blueshirts in the Metropolitan Division.
The Rangers have dropped three straight and are 3-9-2 in their last 14 games.
Elsewhere on NHL ice:
— Chicago won for the fifth time in six games by downing San Jose 5-4 on Jonathan Toews' goal 2:21 in overtime. Blackhawks right wing Patrick Kane leads the league with 50 points after collecting a goal and an assist.
— Boston is 5-0-1 in its last six games after Ryan Spooner supplied the lone shootout goal in the Bruins' 2-1 verdict over New Jersey. Loui Eriksson scored a first-period goal and Jonas Gustavsson handled 29 shots for the Bruins, who are 11-1-3 in their last 14 games.
— Dylan Larkin and Brad Richards scored 45 seconds apart in the second period to put Detroit ahead to stay in a 4-2 win against Calgary. Gustav Nyquist and Justin Abdelkader also tallied as the Red Wings ended a three-game winning streak.
— Tampa Bay won for the third time in four games as Steven Stamkos scored twice and Mike Angelidis netted his first NHL goal in a 5-2 win against Ottawa. The Lightning went ahead to stay on power-play goals by Nikita Nesterov and Stamkos 1:57 apart early in the first period.
— Jaromir Jagr became the NHL's No. 4 career goal-scorer after getting his 732nd to help the Florida Panthers knock off Vancouver 5-4 in a shootout. Jagr also assisted on Aaron Ekblad's power-play tally in the second period, but the game went into a shootout before Brandon Pirri and Aleksander Barkov scored to send the Panthers to their fourth consecutive win.
TOP 25 BASKETBALL
HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) — Connecticut was the only top-25 men's basketball team in action on Sunday, and the 25th-rated Huskies struggled before improving to 7-3.
Rodney Purvis scored 28 points and UConn shot 64 percent from the floor in an 88-79 victory against UMass-Lowell. The Huskies went 7-for-8 from the line after the River Hawks cut a 14-point, second-half deficit to six with under two minutes left.
Ole Miss defensive star ends his career
OXFORD, Miss. (AP) — Mississippi defensive lineman Robert Nkemdiche won't play in the Sugar Bowl and will enter the NFL draft.
Ole Miss coach Hugh Freeze said in a statement the star junior will not be joining the Rebels for the Jan. 1 game against Oklahoma State.
Nkemdiche was recently charged with marijuana possession after a 15-foot fall at an Atlanta hotel. He is one of the country's top defensive linemen and a second-team AP All-American.
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