AP Tuesday Sports Roundup
Happy Birthday, Steph Curry!...Jazz spoil Cavs trip to Utah...Mavs end Hornets' 7-game win streeak
UNDATED (AP)— The Golden State Warriors won their 49th straight regular season home game by routing New Orleans 125-107. Stephen Curry celebrated his 28th birthday by scoring 27.
Birthday songs, MVP chants, and a serenade and piece of cake from his toddler daughter, Riley, made it a great day for Curry — all after his fifth Western Conference Player of the Week award this season and second in two weeks. He shot 4 for 9 from 3-point range and 10 of 16 overall.
The Warriors are now 60-6, including a 31-0 home mark this season.
The Warriors are now four games up on idle San Antonio in the race for best record in the Western Conference.
In other NBA:
— Utah thwarted Cleveland's attempt for a 4-0 Western road trip by beating the Cavaliers 94-85 despite 23 points and 12 rebounds by LeBron James. Rodney Hood led all scorers with 28 for the Jazz. Utah's leading scorer Gordon Hayward missed his first game of the season with plantar fasciitis in his right foot, but Hood picked up the slack.
— The Charlotte Hornets' longest winning streak of the season is over. Chandler Parsons had 24 points and nine rebounds in the Dallas Mavericks' 107-96 win in Charlotte. Dirk Nowitzki added 23 points and 11 rebounds for the Mavericks, who moved back above .500 after losing five straight games.
— Reserve Doug McDermott scored 29 points to lead the Chicago Bulls to their ninth straight victory over the Toronto Raptors, 109-107. E'Twaun Moore and Nikola Mirotic added 17 apiece as Chicago swept Toronto in the series for the second straight season. It's just the Raptors' second loss in their last 16 home games.
Russell Westbrook had 17 points, 16 assists and 10 rebounds in his 12th triple-double of the season, and Oklahoma City Thunder routed the Portland Trail Blazers 128-94. It's his 31st career triple-double.
— Rookies Justise Winslow and Josh Richardson are acclimating just fine to their first NBA playoff push. Winslow scored a season-high 20, Richardson added 17 and the Miami Heat held off the Denver Nuggets 124-119. Dwyane Wade scored 19 points and Joe Johnson added 18 for the Heat.
— Mirza Teletovic made a 3-pointer with 1.2 seconds left to lift the Phoenix Suns to a 107-104 victory over Minnesota.
— Houston flattened Memphis 130-81. Donatas Motiejunas scored 18 points in the Rockets most lopsided win of the season.
— Washington ended a five-game slide by routing Detroit 124-81. Nene led seven Wizards in double figures with 20.
Isles rally late...Hat tricks for Silfverberg, Neal and Frolik
UNDATED (AP) — On NHL ice, the New York Islanders have moved within one point of the crosstown rival Rangers for second place in the Metropolitan Division.
Cal Clutterbuck scored the tiebreaking goal with 1:39 left to cap a three-goal third period in the Islanders' 3-2 victory over the Florida Panthers.
Kyle Okposo and Josh Bailey scored earlier in the third as the Islanders scored all their goals in a 5 1/2-minute stretch after trailing 2-0 heading to the final period. Thomas Greiss finished with 23 saves as the Islanders snapped a two-game skid.
In other hockey:
— The L.A. Kings blanked the defending Stanley Cup champions in their own building. The Kings blanked the Chicago Blackhawks 5-0 in the 41st shutout for Jonathan Quick, who made 32 saves. Kings captain Dustin Brown scored his first goal in 16 games.
— Jakob Silfverberg scored three goals for his first NHL hat trick, leading the Anaheim Ducks to a 7-1 rout of the New Jersey Devils.
— Michael Frolik had the hat trick, including two short-handed goals, as the Calgary Flames beat the St. Louis Blues 7-4. The Blues lost a chance to move ahead of Dallas into top spot in the Central Division. They remain tied in points with Stars, who now have a game in hand.
— James Neal had his sixth career hat trick, scoring all three goals for the Nashville Predators in their 3-2 victory over the Edmonton Oilers.
— Marko Dano had two goals and an assist as the Winnipeg Jets beat the Vancouver Canucks 5-2.
NCAA WOMEN'S TOURNAMENT-BRACKETS
UConn top overall seed...South Carolina, Notre Dame, Baylor other No. 1 seeds
NEW YORK (AP) — The Connecticut women's basketball team's run at an unprecedented fourth straight national championship will begin at home. The 32-0 Huskies are top overall seed in the women's NCAA and potentially won't have to leave the Nutmeg State until the Final Four, which is in Indianapolis this year starting April 3.
The UConn women, who have been a No. 1 seed for 10 straight years, open against 16-seed Robert Morris on Saturday at Storrs. Joining the Huskies as the other No. 1 seeds are South Carolina, Notre Dame and Baylor.
Both UConn and Tennessee won three straight women's titles, but no women's teams has four consecutive championships. The UCLA men's team won seven in a row under legendary coach John Wooden.
As expected, the top team in the final AP women's poll is Connecticut. The Huskies, who are 32-0, received all 32 of the first-place votes by the media panel. The rest of the top five consists of Notre Dame, South Carolina, Baylor and Maryland.
This marks the third year in a row UConn has finished No. 1 and 13th time overall.
Jayhawks on top
UNDATED (AP) — The voters in The Associated Press college basketball poll don't agree with their counterparts who chose the NCAA Tournament field.
They do agree that the top team is Kansas. But from there things look a bit different.
The members of the AP media panel chose Michigan State as the second best team with North Carolina third and Virginia fourth. The fifth ranked school is Oregon, a No. 1 seed according to the NCAA voters.
The 30-4 Jayhawks received 63 first-place votes from the 65-member national media panel while Michigan State, a No. 2 seed in the NCAA Tournament, got the remaining two.
The second five features Villanova, Oklahoma, West Virginia and Xavier. Miami and Kentucky are tied for 10th.
There were six No. 1s this season, one shy the record set in 1982-83.
Dawkins out at Stanford
UNDATED (AP) — Johnny Dawkins has been fired after eight seasons coaching the Stanford men's basketball team. The school says a national search for a replacement is under way.
Dawkins guided the Cardinal to the Sweet 16 of the 2014 NCAA Tournament and NIT championships after the 2012 and '15 seasons.
Stanford went 15-15 this season and finished ninth in the Pac-12 Conference at 8-10. Dawkins went 156-115 overall.
In other college moves:
— Trent Johnson has been fired as men's basketball coach at TCU after four seasons. The Horned Frogs had a record this season of 12-21. His overall mark was 50-79 overall and only 8-64 in regular-season conference games. Those Big 12 losses were by an average of more than 15 points.
— Matt Brady is out as the men's basketball coach at James Madison. He led the Dukes for eight seasons and leaves with a record of 139-127. In 2013 Brady guided the school to the Colonial Athletic Association championship and a spot in the NCAA tournament.
Play starts tonight
DAYTON (AP) — The annual "play-in" games of the NCAA Men's Tournament are tonight and Wednesday nights in Dayton, Ohio. The first two of the so-called "First Four" games features Florida Gulf Coast against Fairleigh Dickinson with Vanderbilt going against Wichita State tonight.
The following evening on the same court Holy Cross is playing Southern followed by Michigan against Tulsa.
The winners advance to the main portion of the NCAA Tournament which begins Thursday afternoon.
The Final Four is in Houston this year the weekend of April 2 with the championship game Monday night, April 4.
Wildcats AD wants more transparency in brackets
LEXINGTON, Ky. (AP) — Kentucky athletic director Mitch Barnhart wants the NCAA Tournament selection process to be more transparent before brackets are announced.
Wildcats coach John Calipari criticized the process after Kentucky was seeded fourth in the East Region despite beating Texas A&M — a No. 3 seed — to win the Southeastern Conference Tournament title. Calipari believes his team deserved a higher seed and questioned whether winning the conference title matters if it doesn't improve seeding.
Barnhart supported Calipari in an open letter on Monday. He is suggesting the committee use a process similar for the College Football Playoff, which releases weekly updates a month before announcing its field.
Peralta back with Cards
JUPITER, Fla. (AP) — Shortstop Jhonny Peralta is back in camp with the St. Louis Cardinals after undergoing surgery on his left thumb. There's still no updated timetable for the shortstop's return from the procedure.
Peralta says he'll be in the cast for two weeks and then stitches will come out. Before the surgery Wednesday, the team estimated he'd be out two to three months.
NFL exec admits CTE-head trauma link
WASHINGTON (AP) — Before a congressional committee, NFL executive Jeff Miller has acknowledged a link between football-related head trauma and the brain disease CTE. It's the first admission by a league official that there is such a relationship.
Appearing before a congressional committee, Miller, the NFL's senior vice president for health and safety, was asked about a connection between hits in football and chronic traumatic encephalopathy. His answer was "certainly yes."
The NFL has not previously linked playing football to CTE directly.
Pittsburgh loses receiver Bryant for a year
NEW YORK (AP) — The NFL has suspended Pittsburgh wide receiver Martavis Bryant for at least one year for violating the league's substance abuse policy. This is the second league-mandated discipline for Bryant. The 24-year-old was suspended for the first four games last season and spent a portion of that time in Houston with John Lucas, the former NBA player and coach who operates a substance abuse facility.
Bryant caught 50 passes for 765 yards and six touchdowns when he returned in Week 6.
Bears ink 2 tight ends
UNDATED (AP) — — The Chicago Bears retained a pair of tight ends, agreeing to a two-year contract with Zach Miller and a one-year deal with Rob Housler.
Miller re-established himself in Chicago last year after injuries sidelined him for the 2012, 2013 and 2014 seasons.
He played in 15 games while setting career highs with 34 receptions, 439 yards receiving and a team-leading five touchdown passes.
Housler was in the final four games for Chicago last season and had three catches for 27 yards. He has appeared in 65 games with 27 starts over five seasons with Arizona, Cleveland and the Bears.
— The Vikings have signed free agent safety Michael Griffin. He spent all nine years of his NFL career with Tennessee, where he made the Pro Bowl twice. He is expected to compete with Andrew Sendejo for the starting spot opposite standout Harrison Smith.
— Arizona has agreed to terms on a one-year deal with tight end Jermaine Gresham and re-signed defensive tackle Red Bryant to a one-year deal. Gresham, coming off back surgery a year ago, played in 15 regular-season games with the Cardinals last season, 12 as a starter; while Bryant, an eight-year NFL veteran, appeared in the final six games after signing with the Cardinals last season.
— Defensive tackle B.J. Raji says he is taking a hiatus from the NFL and will not play in 2016 following seven seasons with the Green Bay Packers. He does not rule out a return to the field.
— Safety Eric Weddle and the Ravens have agreed to terms on a four-year free agent contract. Weddle has spent his entire nine-year career with the San Diego Chargers and was named to the Pro Bowl three times.
The San Diego Chargers have agreed to terms of a three-year contract with former Green Bay Packers cornerback Casey Hayward. Hayward was a second-round draft pick of the Packers in 2012. He played in 51 games with 20 starts in four seasons.