AP Thursday Sports Roundup
Raptors cool off Spurs
UNDATED (AP) — The San Antonio Spurs ended a four-game winning streak by dropping a matchup of NBA division leaders.
DeMar DeRozan scored 28 points as the Toronto Raptors got past San Antonio 97-94. Kyle Lowry had 19 points for Toronto, which never trailed in handing the Spurs just the third loss in their last 18 games.
Luis Scola added 16 points and helped the Raptors improve to 14-9, a half-game ahead of the Celtics for the division lead.
The Spurs fell to 18-5, one game after their 51-point victory over Philadelphia.
In other NBA finals:
— Isaiah Thomas scored nine of his 20 points in the final three minutes to lead Boston's fourth win in four games, 105-100 against Chicago. The Bulls dropped their third in a row despite Jimmy Butler's season-high36 points.
— The Los Angeles Clippers picked up their third consecutive win as J.J. Redick scored 15 of his season-high 31 points in the third quarter of a 109-95 trouncing of the Bucks in Milwaukee. Blake Griffin had 21 points and 14 rebounds for the Clippers, while Chris Paul added 18 points and 18 assists.
— Charlotte earned its third straight win as Kemba Walker and Marvin Williams scored 18 points apiece to lead a 99-81 victory against Miami. Nicolas Batum had 10 points for the 12-8 Hornets, including a dunk that put Charlotte ahead by 30 early in the fourth quarter.
— Paul Millsap scored 20 points, grabbed 11 boards and sparked a late comeback in Atlanta's 98-95 verdict over Dallas. The Hawks trailed 93-89 with 3:07 remaining before Millsap scored four points in a 7-0 spurt.
— Matt Barnes nailed a desperation 3-point heave from just inside midcourt with 1.1 seconds left to give Memphis a 93-92 victory at Detroit. Zach Randolph led the Grizzlies with 21 points and 16 rebounds.
— James Harden scored 23 of his 42 points in the second half and finished with nine rebounds and seven assists in Houston's 109-103 triumph at Washington. Corey Brewer added 15 points and Patrick Beverly had 14 to help the Rockets get their fourth win in five games.
— Utah hammered New York 106-85 behind Gordon Hayward's 24 points on 9 of 14 shooting. Derrick Favors contributed 20 points and eight rebounds for the Jazz, who led 70-37 early in the third quarter and handed the Knicks their worst loss of the season.
— Brandon Knight, Alex Len and Eric Bledsoe were the stars in the Suns' 107-104 decision over the Magic in Phoenix. Knight scored 17 of his 21 points in the second half, Len had career highs of 20 points and 14 rebounds, and Bledsoe hit the tiebreaking layup with 71 seconds left as part of his 20-point, 14-rebound performance.
— Kevin Martin contributed 17 of his 37 points in the fourth quarter and shot 6-for-9 from beyond the arc in Minnesota's 123-122 overtime win against the Lakers. Karl-Anthony Towns had 26 points and 14 rebounds to help the Timberwolves win for only the third time in 12 home games.
NBA suspends Charlotte center
CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) — Charlotte Hornets center Al Jefferson has received a five-game suspension from the NBA for violating the terms of the league's Anti-Drug Program.
Jefferson is currently out with a strained left calf, and the NBA says he won't begin serving the five-game suspension until he's healthy. The banned substance Jefferson used has not been disclosed.
Day 3 in Nashville
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — The New York Mets entered the winter meetings in search of a middle infielder, while the Pittsburgh Pirates desired another starting pitcher. The two clubs helped each other today, with the Pirates sending second baseman Neil Walker to the Mets for lefty Jon Niese.
Walker won the Silver Slugger in 2014 and hit .269 with 16 home runs and 71 RBIs for the Bucs last season. His acquisition fills a void created when Daniel Murphy filed for free agency last month.
Niese was 9-10 with a 4.13 ERA for the National League champions last season. He became expendable following the emergence of rookie starters Noah Syndergaard and Stephen Matz this year.
Here's the latest from baseball's winter meetings in Nashville:
— The Athletics have traded third baseman Brett Lawrie to the White Sox for right-hander J.B. Wendelken and minor league left-hander Zack Erwin. Lawrie hit .260 with career highs of 16 homers and 60 RBIs in his lone season for the A's.
— The Yankees have dealt lefty reliever Justin Wilson to the Tigers for minor league right-handers Luis Cessa and Chad Green. The 28-year-old Wilson went 5-0 this year with a 3.10 ERA in 74 appearances.
— Arizona has completed a deal to acquire All-Star right-hander Shelby Miller from the Braves for overall No. 1 draft pick Dansby Swanson and two other players. A day after finalizing a $206.5 million, six-year contract with major league ERA leader Zack Greinke, Arizona sent outfielder Ender Inciarte and pitching prospect Aaron Blair to the Braves.
— Second baseman Chase Utley and the Los Angeles Dodgers have finalized a one-year contract. The 36-year-old was obtained from Philadelphia on Aug. 19 and hit .202 with three homers and nine RBIs in 34 games with the Dodgers.
— The Giants and free agent pitcher Jeff Samardzija have finalized their $90 million, five-year contract. Samardzija was 11-13 with a 4.96 ERA in 32 starts for the White Sox this year.
— The Mariners have acquired first baseman Adam Lind from the Brewers for minor league pitchers Daniel Missaki, Carlos Herrera and Freddy Peralta. Lind hit .277 with 20 homers and 87 RBIs in 149 games during his only season with the Brewers.
— Right-handed pitcher David Hernandez and the Phillies have agreed to a one-year contract. Hernandez was 1-5 with a 4.28 ERA in 40 appearances this year.
— Major League Baseball has recommended that teams install protective netting between the dugouts for any field-level seats within 70 feet of home plate. The guidelines were issued following a season in which several fans were injured by foul balls, prompting MLB to study fan safety.
T25 MEN's BASKETBALL-SCHEDULE
Kentucky whips state rival
UNDATED (AP) — The Kentucky Wildcats looked good in their first game since falling from first to fifth in The Associated Press men's basketball poll.
The Wildcats bounced back from last week's loss at UCLA by knocking off Eastern Kentucky 88-67 in Lexington. Alex Poythress had 21 points and 13 rebounds for the 8-1 Wildcats, while Jamal Murray chipped in 16 points.
Kentucky dominated inside, scoring 58 points in the paint and outrebounding the Colonels 50-25.
Meanwhile, the current No. 1 team in the AP poll had little trouble improving to 10-0.
Denzel Valentine had 11 points, 10 rebounds and six assists as Michigan State ripped Maryland Eastern Shore 78-35. Bryn Forbes had 14 points for the top-ranked Spartans, who are off to their best start in 15 years.
Michigan State held the Hawks under 20 points in both halves.
Also in top-25 action:
— Wayne Selden Jr. dropped in 15 points and second-ranked Kansas improved to 7-1 by slamming Holy Cross 92-59. Brannen Greene contributed 14 points in his first action since serving a six-game suspension for conduct detrimental to the team.
— Freshman Caleb Swanigan provided 11 of his 19 points while 11th-ranked Purdue outscored Howard 56-24 in the first half of a 93-55 romp over the Bison. Swanigan also had 12 rebounds as the Boilermakers improved to 10-0 for the first time since opening the 2009-10 season with 14 consecutive wins.
— Allonzo Trier scored 27 points and 13th-rated Arizona improved to 8-1 with an 85-72 victory against Fresno State. Ryan Anderson added 17 points as the Wildcats extended the nation's longest home winning streak to 43 games.
— No. 15 Providence won a turf war against a former conference rival as Rodney Bullock scored 17 points in a 66-51 decision over Boston College. The Friars jumped out to an 18-4 lead and improved to 9-1.
— No. 21 Vanderbilt blew a 16-point lead and dropped to 6-3 with a 72-67 loss to visiting Dayton. Kendall Pollard scored a season-high 21 points for the 7-1 Flyers.
COLLEGE BOWL GAMES
Time to cut back the number of bowl games
NEW YORK (AP) — NCAA president Mark Emmert says the time has time for schools to take a look at the bowl system and determine the worth of some postseason games. Three teams with losing records will be among the 80 playing in a record 40 bowl games over the next month.
The NCAA has largely removed itself from the bowl business, allowing conferences, communities and television networks to create postseason games.
COLLEGE FOOTBALL-WEST VIRGINIA-HOLGORSEN
MORGANTOWN, W.Va. (AP) — Football coach Dana Holgorsen will return for a sixth season at West Virginia.
Athletic director Shane Lyons made the announcement after a previously planned evaluation of the football program, saying he believes that "continuity is best" for the school.
Holgorsen has a 35-28 record since being hired for the 2011 season. The Mountaineers are 7-5 this season and haven't finished better than fourth in the Big 12 since joining the conference in 2012.
B's rally past Habs...Rangers stumble in Vancouver
UNDATED (AP) — The Montreal Canadiens were unable to add to their one-point lead in the NHL's Eastern Conference.
The Canadiens led 1-0 until the Bruins scored three times during a 5:49 span of the third period to post a 3-1 victory in Montreal. Loui Ericksson tied it with a short-handed goal before Landon Ferraro tallied just 42 seconds later. Patrice Bergeron added an insurance goal as the Bruins pulled within eight points of the Atlantic Division lead.
Paul Byron scored the lone goal for the Canadiens, who are just 1-6-2 when scoring two goals or fewer this season.
The Rangers had a chance to pass Montreal in the conference standings, but Canucks forward Daniel Sedin provided a goal and an assist in the third period as Vancouver sent the Rangers to their sixth loss in eight games, 2-1. Sedin set up Alex Edler's power-play goal and later snapped a 1-1 tie midway through the final stanza.
Ryan Miller turned back 32 shots in helping the Canucks win their second straight since a five-game slide.
Elsewhere on NHL ice:
— The Penguins had dropped four of five before Beau Bennett scored twice while Pittsburgh was netting three goals in a 3:24 span of the third period to beat Colorado 4-2. Olli Maatta provided the game-winner after setting up Matt Cullen's goal.
— Edmonton claimed its season-high fourth straight win by downing San Jose 4-3 on Taylor Hall's power-play goal at 3:59 of overtime. Hall and Leon Draisaitl each finished with a goal and an assist as the Oilers sent the Sharks to their fifth consecutive loss.
Arizona lineman out for the year
UNDATED (AP) — New York Jets cornerback Darrelle Revis rejoined his teammates today, attending practice for the first time since suffering a concussion on Nov. 22. He did not participate in any drills, but coach Todd Bowles was happy to see Revis at least do some physical activity. Revis still needed to pass two more tests in the concussion protocol before he can be cleared, and it was uncertain if that would happen in time to play against Tennessee on Sunday.
In other NFL news:
— Arizona Cardinals offensive lineman Earl Watford will miss the rest of the season due to a hand injury. Coach Bruce Arians says an MRI showed that Watford has ligament damage. Watford started the first two games at left guard while Mike Iupati recovered from knee surgery.
— Jacksonville Jaguars linebacker Paul Posluszny has undergone surgery to repair a broken right hand, but hasn't been ruled out against Indianapolis. Jags Coach Gus Bradley said it's possible that Posluszny could play with his hand in a cast and heavily wrapped.
New champ loses one title
SPRINGFIELD, New Jersey (AP) — The International Boxing Federation has stripped newly crowned heavyweight champ Tyson Fury of its world heavyweight belt. The IBF says he violated rules by agreeing to meet the man he dethroned, Wladimir Klitschko, in a rematch in his next fight. The IBF says Fury should have fought its No. 1 contender and not Klitscho.
The contract Fury signed gave Klitschko the right to exercise an option that called for an immediate rematch.
By beating the former champ Fury took the IBF, WBA and WBO titles.