AP Thursday Sports Roundup
Sixers, Pelicans fall again
UNDATED (AP) — The New Orleans Pelicans have just one victory so far in this NBA season, and they aren't even the league's worst team.
The Sixers are 0-12 this season and 0-22 since last March following a lopsided 112-85 loss to the visiting Indiana Pacers. Paul George poured in 34 points and C.J. Miles added 20 in helping the Pacers improve to 7-5.
T.J. McConnell scored 16 points for the 76ers, who are within four of matching the league's longest losing streak. Cleveland dropped 26 straight during the 2010-11 season, three years before the Sixers matched it.
Philadelphia also is six away from tying the longest season-opening losing streak in league history, set by the 2009 Nets.
As bad as the Sixers are right now, the Pelicans would be right in step with Philly without their 120-95 win over Dallas on Nov. 10. The Pelicans are now 1-11 after Russell Westbrook had 43 points, nine rebounds and eight assists to carry Oklahoma past New Orleans 110-103. Enes Kanter added 24 points and 14 rebounds as the Thunder ended a two-game skid.
In other NBA action:
— San Antonio picked up its sixth straight win by defeating Denver 109-98 behind Tony Parker's season-high 25 points. Kawhi Leonard added 20 points and Patty Mills hit three of his six 3-point tries in scoring a season-best 17 points.
— Dallas made it five straight wins as Dirk Nowitzki scored 23 points and Wesley Matthews had 18 in a 106-102 comeback at Boston. The Mavericks erased an 18-point, first-half deficit and finally went ahead with a 14-2 run in the fourth quarter.
— Jimmy Butler dropped in 32 points and had six rebounds to send Chicago to its fourth straight win, 103-97 at Phoenix. Pau Gasol contributed 17 points and eight rebounds to help the Bulls grab a share of the Eastern Conference lead at 8-3.
— James Harden scored all nine of Houston's overtime points and finished with 45 in a 108-103 triumph over Portland. Harden also delivered 11 assists, eight rebounds and five steals for the Rockets, who were about to suffer their fifth straight loss until Corey Brewer drained a 3-pointer with 0.9 seconds left in regulation.
— Paul Millsap scored 23 points, grabbed 16 rebounds and hit a running one-hander with 15.7 seconds remaining in Atlanta's 103-97 triumph over Sacramento. Dennis Schroder had 22 points as the Hawks won for the second time in six games.
— Rodney Hood scored 16 points and the Utah Jazz used a big fourth quarter to send Toronto to its sixth loss in eight games, 93-89. Alec Burks made the go-ahead jumper with 1:12 left for the Jazz, who trailed by six midway through the final period before an 11-2 run gave them their first lead since the second quarter.
— Evan Fournier scored 26 points and hit a 3-pointer with 3.1 seconds left in overtime to lift Orlando past Minnesota 104-101. Elfrid Payton scored 24 points and had six assists for the Magic.
— Charlotte beat Brooklyn 116-111 behind Nicolas Batum's 24 points and eight assists. Al Jefferson and Kemba Walker each chipped in 18 points as the Hornets won for the sixth time in nine games to get back to .500.
McHale dismissed by Houston
HOUSTON (AP) — The Houston Rockets had a new coach as they took the court against Portland on Wednesday.
Kevin McHale was dismissed in the morning and replaced by Assistant coach J. B. Bickerstaff on an interim basis. The move came amid a four-game losing streak that had left the Rockets with a 4-7 record.
McHale led the Rockets to a 56-26 record last season before the team lost the Western Conference finals against the Golden State Warriors, the eventual NBA champs. He went 193-130 with the Rockets.
No Ginobili for two games
SAN ANTONIO (AP) — Spurs guard Manu Ginobili will miss one more game with hip tightness and will be re-evaluated before Saturday's game against Memphis. Ginobili is averaging 11.7 points, 3.3 rebounds, 3.7 assists and 1.3 steals in nine games this season.
TOP 25 MEN'S BASKETBALL-SCHEDULE
Tar Heels outlast Wofford
UNDATED (AP) — Top-ranked North Carolina is 3-0 following a fine shooting performance against Wofford.
The Tar Heels shot 52.5 percent and outrebounded the Terriers 42-24 in a 78-58 victory. Brice Johnson finished with 16 points, grabbed 14 rebounds and helped the Heels outscore Wofford 50-18 in the paint.
Kennedy Meeks and Joel Berry II also had 16 points for North Carolina, which led just 50-47 with 13 1/2 minutes left.
Also on the top-25 schedule:
— Domantas Sabonis scored 26 points and Kyle Wiltjer added 23 as No. 10 Gonzaga crushed Northern Arizona 91-52. The Bulldogs shot 53 percent and won the rebound battle 53-31 in their first game since their season opener against Pittsburgh was called off at halftime due to poor court conditions.
— Purdue shot 72 percent from the field during a 53-point first half to rout Incarnate Word 96-61. Isaac Haas finished with 17 points and Raphael Davis contributed 11 of his 14 points in the opening half for the 3-0 Boilermakers.
MLB-CY YOUNG AWARDS
Keuchel, Arrieta win AL Cy Young award
UNDATED (AP) — The Chicago Cubs have yet another award winner in their organization.
Staff ace Jake Arrieta has captured the National League Cy Young Award in balloting by the Baseball Writers' Association of America. Arrieta led the majors in wins this year, going 22-6 with a 1.77 ERA and 236 strikeouts to help the Cubs reach the postseason for the first time since 2008. He was unbeaten in his last 12 starts, going 11-0 with a microscopic 0.41 earned run average and a .182 batting average against.
Arrieta received 17 first-place votes for 169 points, while runner-up Zack Greinke of the Dodgers drew 10 first-place votes and 147 points. Los Angeles lefty Clayton Kershaw had the other three first-place votes.
Arrieta's Cy Young snare comes after Chicago third baseman Kris Bryant was named the NL Rookie of the Year and Cubs skipper Joe Maddon captured the Manager of the Year honor, both announced this week.
The American League Cy Young Award winner is Houston lefty Dallas Keuchel, who compiled a 20-8 mark with a 2.48 ERA with 216 strikeouts in a league-leading 232 innings. Keuchel paced the league in victories, was second in earned run average and fifth in strikeouts.
Keuchel helped the Astros earn their first playoff berth in 10 years before he beat the Yankees in the wild-card game. He picked up 22 first-place votes and 186 points.
Runner-up David Price received eight first-place votes and 143 points. Oakland's Sonny Gray finished third.
Slugger announces plans to retire
BOSTON (AP) — Big Papi says it's one and done.
Red Sox designated hitter David Ortiz confirms that he plans to retire after the 2016 season, saying the time has come for him to move on to the next phase of his life.
The 40-year-old Ortiz hit .273 with 37 homers and 108 RBIs for Boston last season. He is a lifetime .284 hitter with 503 home runs and 1,641 RBIs.
Ortiz has led the Red Sox to three World Series championships and has represented the team in nine All-Star games.
Tigers and Brewers maneuver
DETROIT (AP) — The Tigers have bolstered their bullpen with the acquisition of closer Francisco Rodriguez from Milwaukee for minor league infielder Javier Betancourt and a player to be named.
Rodriguez turns 34 in January and converted 38 of 40 save opportunities with the Brewers this year. He finished 1-3 with a 2.21 earned run average.
Travis out 16-20 weeks following shoulder surgery
TORONTO (AP) — It looks like the Toronto Blue Jays will open next season without second baseman Devon Travis because of left shoulder surgery, a procedure that will leave him sidelined 16-to -20 weeks.
The surgery involved inserting screws to stabilize a bone in his shoulder. Travis was placed on the disabled list twice last season with left shoulder inflammation and didn't play after July 28.
Ovechkin blanked again, but Caps win anyway
UNDATED (AP) — Washington left wing Alex Ovechkin ran his scoring drought to four games on Wednesday, leaving him tied with Sergei Fedorov for the most NHL goals by a Russian. However, another Russian allowed the Capitals to pull within five points of both the Metropolitan Division and Eastern Conference leads.
Evgeny Kuznetsov scored 45 seconds into overtime to give the Caps a 2-1 victory at Detroit. Matt Niskanen assisted on Kuznetsov's sixth goal of the season after setting up Justin Williams' power-play goal midway through the first period.
Braden Holtby turned back 25 shots and blanked the Red Wings following Dylan Larkin's goal 2:48 into the game.
Ovechkin took five of his 16 shots in the opening period but remains stuck on 483 career goals.
Elsewhere on NHL ice:
— Chicago squandered leads of 2-0 and 3-2 before Marian Hossa scored 68 seconds into overtime to give the Blackhawks a 4-3 victory at Edmonton. NHL scoring leader and Hawks right wing Patrick Kane had a first-period assist to stretch his point streak to 14 games.
— Mark Scheifele and Drew Stafford each had two goals and an assist as Winnipeg dumped Vancouver 4-1 to end a six-game losing streak. Mathieu Perreault had three assists and Ondrej Pavelec made 29 saves for the Jets.
NHL revamps All-Star game format
NEW YORK (AP) — The NHL has revamped its All-Star game format for the Sunday, Jan. 31 midwinter classic in Nashville.
The league has announced that it will hold a 3-on-3 tournament in which players will be grouped according to their team's division. Players will represent the Pacific, Central, Atlantic and Metropolitan divisions in the $1 million winner-take-all tournament that will have three 20-minute games. The Central will open against the Pacific, and the Atlantic will face the Metropolitan in the semifinals, with the winners advancing to the championship game.
Pittsburgh defenseman hospitalized
PITTSBURGH (AP) — Penguins defenseman Olli Maatta remains in a Pittsburgh hospital for observation after leaving Tuesday night's win over Minnesota with an upper-body injury. The 21-year-old was limited to 20 games last season following a cancer scare and shoulder surgery. He has two goals and two assists in 18 games so far this season.
News from around the league
UNDATED — Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers was limited in practice on Wednesday due to a right shoulder injury. Rodgers has been sacked 22 times this season, half of those coming in the last three games.
The Packers have dropped three straight following a 6-0 start, leaving them one game behind first-place Minnesota in the NFC North.
In other NFL news:
— Dallas Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo is expected to start against the Dolphins on Sunday, though coach Jason Garrett is taking things day by day as his 35-year-old quarterback heals from a broken left collarbone. The 2-7 Cowboys have dropped all seven games since Romo was injured in Week 2.
— Quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick expects to be back under center in the New York Jets' next game despite not practicing. He acknowledged that his thumb remains painful after having surgery to repair a torn ligament on his non-throwing hand last Friday. The Jets take on the Texans in Houston this Sunday.
— Defensive end Chris Long was a full participant in St. Louis Rams practice on Wednesday, making it likely he'll return after missing four games with a knee injury. Long fractured a bone in his right knee at Green Bay Oct. 11.
— Former NFL and CFL quarterback Doug Flutie says both of his parents died of heart attacks within an hour of each other. Flutie did not elaborate on the circumstances of their deaths, but called them "incredible parents and grandparents" who had been married for 56 years and were always there for their children.
Woods named to Ryder Cup team
ST. SIMONS ISLAND, Ga. (AP) — Although he may not play, Tiger Woods will be at the Ryder Cup next year. U.S. captain Davis Love III says that Woods, Jim Furyk and Steve Stricker will be vice captains for the 2016 matches in Minnesota.
Woods had back surgery in September and a follow-up procedure, leaving his ability to play next season undetermined.