AP Thursday Sports Roundup
Spurs still perfect at home
UNDATED (AP) — David West contributed 15 points and a season-high 13 rebounds for the Spurs, who led 68-51 at halftime of their sixth consecutive win.
In other NBA action:
— LeBron James and Kyrie Irving combined for 66 points and J.R. Smith added 25 as Cleveland claimed its fifth straight win, 121-115 over the Wizards in Washington. James finished with a team-high 34 points and had 10 rebounds to help the Cavaliers improve to 24-9 and take a three-game lead over Chicago in the Eastern Conference. Irving scored 21 of his 32 points in the fourth quarter of just his seventh game of the season, including a run of 10 straight that clinched the victory for Cleveland.
— Kevin Durant delivered 26 points and a season-high 17 rebounds in Oklahoma City's 112-94 win against Memphis. Durant scored 17 points in the second half after sitting out the Thunder's previous game with a sprained right big toe.
— Chris Paul's 21 points and 19 assists fueled the Los Angeles Clippers' seventh consecutive victory, 109-98 at Portland. Trail Blazers guard CJ McCollum was ineligible to play after he was inadvertently left off the active roster that was submitted before the game.
— Dallas earned a 100-91 win at New Orleans despite resting starters Dirk Nowitzki, Deron Williams, Zaza Pachulia and Wesley Matthews. Ray Felton led the Mavericks with 22 points and Chandler Parsons scored 19 of his 21 points in the first half to help the Mavs win their second straight.
— Paul George had 20 points and Indiana beat the Magic for the sixth straight time with a 95-86 win at Orlando. Monta Ellis scored nine of his 19 in the fourth quarter as the Pacers handed the Magic their fourth consecutive loss.
— Jonas Valanciunas contributed 22 points and 11 rebounds in Toronto's 91-74 verdict over Brooklyn. Kyle Lowry had 17 points, eight rebounds and six assists as the Raptors dealt the Nets their eighth straight home loss since Dec. 10.
— Carmelo Anthony scored 25 points and the New York Knicks shot 56 percent in a 98-90 triumph at Miami. Robin Lopez added a season-high 19 points for the Knicks, who won their third game in a row overall and ended an eight-game losing streak to the Heat.
— Reggie Jackson scored nine of his 24 points in the final quarter to lead Detroit's rally in a 99-94 victory at Boston. Kentavious Caldwell-Pope finished with 20 in the Pistons' third win in four games.
— Phoenix put an end to its nine-game losing streak by topping Charlotte 111-102. Mirza Teletovic drained five of the Suns' season-high 19 3-pointers and Brandon Knight added 18 points and seven assists.
— Denver's six-game skid is over after Danilo Gallinari had 20 points, seven rebounds and four assists in a 78-74 decision over Minnesota. Jusuf Nurkic had 15 points and 10 rebounds in the Nuggets' second victory in 11 games.
Raptors' Carroll has surgery
NEW YORK (AP) — Toronto Raptors forward DeMarre Carroll has had arthroscopic surgery on his right knee and the Raptors say his status will be updated when appropriate.
Carroll missed nine games last month with a bruised right knee then played in five in a row before sitting out a loss in Cleveland on Monday with a swollen right knee.
Carroll signed with the Raptors over the summer after being one of the keys to the Atlanta Hawks' 60-win team last season. He has averaged 11.7 points and 4.8 rebounds in 23 games.
Bucs bounce Lovie...Payton stays in Crescent City
UNDATED (AP) — The Tampa Bay Buccaneers are the latest NFL team to begin a coaching search.
The Bucs have fired Lovie Smith after two seasons and an 8-24 record. The Bucs showed some improvement this season with No. 1 overall draft pick Jameis Winston at quarterback and revitalized running back Doug Martin, going 6-10 following a 2-14 record in their first year under Smith. The Buccaneers ranked in the top 10 in total offense and defense for the first time, but they also were 20th in points and 26th in scoring defense.
In other NFL news:
— Saints coach Sean Payton says he's staying with New Orleans, ending speculation that he could be on the move after consecutive 7-9 seasons. Payton says he can't envision coaching for any other club. He has spent a decade in the job and says he plans on finishing his career in New Orleans.
— New York Jets defensive end Muhammad Wilkerson says he is having surgery to repair his broken right leg. The first time Pro Bowl selection broke his fibula in the Jets' 22-17 loss at Buffalo last Sunday.
— Seattle Seahawks running back Marshawn Lynch is "full go" for returning to practice after being away from the team since undergoing abdominal surgery in late November. If he makes it through the week, Lynch would be the presumptive starter for Sunday's NFC wild-card game against Minnesota.
— The NFL players' union has revoked the license of high-profile agent Ben Dogra and fined him $200,000. The former agent of Adrian Peterson can apply for reinstatement in three years.
OXFORD, Miss. (AP) — Mississippi football coach Hugh Freeze has received a one-year contract extension and raise that will push his salary to $5 million per year by 2018.
His four-year package is worth an average of just over $4.9 million a year, about $600,000 more than he made in 2015.
Freeze has a 34-18 record over four seasons with Ole Miss, including a 10-3 mark this season.
COLLEGE FOOTBALL-NFL DRAFT
Seminoles record setting kicker declares for draft
UNDATED (AP) — Florida State kicker Roberto Aguayo says he will declare for the NFL draft and skip his senior season.
Aguayo is the most accurate kicker in NCAA history making 96.73 percent of all kicks for the Seminoles.
He made all 198 of his extra-point attempts and was 69 of 78 on field goals.
Also, Michigan State tackle Jack Conklin, North Carolina State tight end David J. Grinnage, Florida safety Keanu Neal and Oklahoma State defensive end Emmanuel Ogbah say they are leaving school early to enter the draft.
TOP 25 COLLEGE BASKETBALL
Terps clobber Knights
UNDATED (AP) — Third-ranked Maryland remains unbeaten since losing at North Carolina in the ACC-Big Ten Challenge.
Jake Layman dropped in 18 points and the Terrapins used runs of 10-0 and 12-2 to build a 46-18 lead in an 88-63 rout of Rutgers. The Terps also scored 18 straight points to go ahead by 40 in the second half of their eighth straight win.
Diamond Stone had 15 points and 10 rebounds for the 14-1 Terrapins, who finished without leading scorer Melo Trimble because of hamstring tightness. Rasheed Sulaimon also had 15 points for Maryland.
In other top-25 finals:
— Myles Davis scored 19 points and 10th-ranked Xavier struggled before sending St. John's to its sixth straight loss, 74-66. Jalen Reynolds had 10 points and 13 rebounds for the 14-1 Musketeers.
— No. 11 Villanova got past Seton Hall 72-63 behind Daniel Ochefu's 20 points and 18 rebounds. Josh Hart had 15 points and 10 rebounds to help the Wildcats overcome a 4-for-22 night from 3-point range.
— Matt Thomas scored 22 points and Jameel McKay had 19 with 14 rebounds to carry 13th-ranked Iowa State past Texas Tech 76-69. Georges Niang scored all of his 14 points in the second half as the 12-2 Cyclones avoided their first losing streak of the season.
— Grayson Allen scored 24 points freshman Luke Kennard added 23 as 14th-ranked Duke beat Wake Forest 91-75 to improve to 13-2. Marshall Plumlee finished with a career-high 18 and Brandon Ingram had 17 for the Blue Devils.
— Jalen Jones scored 11 points and provided the go-ahead dunk with 20 seconds left to lead No. 21 Texas A&M over Mississippi State 61-60.
— James Robinson and Jamel Artis scored 18 points apiece and No. 24 Pittsburgh held off Georgia Tech 89-84.
— Charles Cooke scored 18 points and 25th-rated Dayton had 26 points off turnovers in a 93-63 pounding of Massachusetts.
MLB-HALL OF FAME
Griffey, Piazza new Hall of Famers
NEW YORK (AP) — Ken Griffey Jr. and Mike Piazza will become the newest members of baseball's Hall of Fame.
Griffey was on 437 of 440 votes in his first appearance on the Baseball Writers' Association of America ballot. His 99.3 percentage topped Tom Seaver's 98.84 in 1992.
Griffey won seven Silver Slugger awards and hit 630 home runs.
Piazza got in with 83 percent of the vote on his fourth time on the ballot. Piazza was a 12-time All-Star with the Mets and Dodgers and leads all catchers with 427 home runs.
Jeff Bagwell fell 15 votes shy of induction, while Tim Raines missed by 23 votes.
Induction ceremonies at Cooperstown are July 24.
Gordon signs Royals deal
UNDATED (AP) — All-Star outfielder Alex Gordon has agreed to a four-year, $72 million contract to remain with the World Series champion Kansas City Royals.
Gordon declined an option for $13.75 million to test free agency.
He's become not only one of the best defensive outfielders in the game with four Gold Gloves to his resume, but also a consistent hitter and clubhouse leader.
— Former AL Rookie of the Year Neftali Feliz and the Pirates have agreed to a $3.9 million, one-year contract. He was 1-2 with a 4.58 ERA in 18 appearances for the Rangers last year, became a free agent in July after he was designated for assignment, then signed Detroit and went 2-2 with a career-worst 7.62 ERA in 28 1/3 innings.
— Free-agent first baseman Chris Carter has agreed to a one-year, $2.5 million contract with the Milwaukee Brewers. Carter became a free agent when the Houston Astros declined to offer him a contract in December.
— A person familiar with the negotiations says infielder Kelly Johnson is back with the Braves after agreeing to a one-year, $2 million contract. He hit .275 with nine homers with Atlanta last season before he was traded to the Mets on July 24.
Hawks silence Pens
UNDATED (AP) — The Chicago Blackhawks are making a slow climb toward first place in the NHL's Western Conference as they seek their fourth Stanley Cup in seven years.
The Hawks are within six points of Dallas after rookie Artemi Panarin scored his 14th and 15th goals of the season to lead a 3-1 win over the Penguins. Panarin opened the scoring in the first period and later snapped a 1-1 tie nine minutes into the third period of the Blackhawks' fifth straight win.
Evgeni Malkin had the lone goal for the Penguins, who were outshot 37-18.
Elsewhere on NHL ice:
— Max Pacioretty scored a power-play goal and Torrey Mitchell added a short-handed tally as the Montreal Canadiens won for just the fourth time in their last 16 games, 2-1 over New Jersey. Mike Condon faced just 20 shots to help the Canadiens climb within three points of the Atlantic Division-leading Florida Panthers.
— Vancouver beat Carolina 3-2 on Bo Horvat's power-play goal with 66 seconds remaining. Horvat had two goals in the third period of the Canucks' fourth win in six games.
— Toronto is a game over .500 for the first time all season after P.A. Parenteau scored the first two goals and Jonathan Bernier stopped 39 shots in a 4-0 win at Anaheim. The Maple Leafs won for the fourth time in five games and ended the Ducks' six-game point streak.
— Colorado defeated St. Louis 4-3 on Gabriel Landeskog's goal at 4:43 of overtime. The Avalanche were about to lose for the fifth time in seven games until Nathan McKinnon scored with just 1:29 left in regulation.
NHL All-Stars are set
UNDATED (AP) — The NHL has named the final 40 players to take part in a new 3-on-3 tournament at All-Star weekend later this month in Nashville, Tennessee.
Leading goal-scorer Jamie Benn of the Stars and Dallas Stars teammate Tyler Seguin headlined the All-Star selections for the Central Division, which will have top point-getter Patrick Kane of the Blackhawks as captain.
The division-leading Washington Capitals and Florida Panthers each have three players expected to go, as do the host Nashville Predators.
Pittsburgh star Sidney Crosby is not among the final 40. He's ranked 36th in the league in points after a slow start. The Penguins' captain has 22 points in his past 20 games.
All 30 teams have at least one representative.
In other NHL news:
— The Nashville Predators have traded defenseman Seth Jones to the Columbus Blue Jackets for center Ryan Johansen. Jones was the fourth overall pick in the 2013 NHL draft and was in the midst of his third NHL season. Johansen has scored 26 points in 38 games this season.
— The Los Angeles Kings acquired forward Vincent Lecavalier and defenseman Luke Schenn from the Philadelphia Flyers for center Jordan Weal and a third-round pick.
— The Washington Capitals have agreed to a one-year, $1 million deal with two-time Stanley Cup winner Mike Richards.
— Capitals forward Zach Sill has received a two-game suspension without pay from the NHL for boarding Boston Bruins defenseman Adam McQuaid in Tuesday's game.