AP Tuesday Sports Roundup
Spurs have letdown...Cavs clinch second straight Central title
UNDATED (AP) — After their emotional victory over league-leading Golden State at home Saturday night, it was only natural the San Antonio Spurs might have a letdown. They did, but the Charlotte Hornets had a lot to do with it.
The Hornets roared from 25 points down to end the Spurs' six-game winning streak, 91-88. Jeremy Lin scored 15 of his game-high 29 in the fourth quarter.
Courtney Lee had 17 points and Nicolas Batum added 15 for the Hornets, who bounced back from a disappointing loss to the Denver Nuggets on Saturday night. Tony Parker led the Spurs with 19.
In other NBA:
— The Cleveland Cavaliers are NBA Central Division champions for the second straight year. LeBron James recorded his 41st career triple-double -- 33 points, 11 rebounds and 11 assists -- as the Cavaliers walloped Denver 124-91.
— Golden State improved to a league-best 63-7 by beating Minnesota 109-104. Draymond Green had 24 points, nine rebounds and six assists. Reigning MVP Stephen Curry missed 11 of his 17 shots, including seven of his nine 3-pointers, but still had 19 points, 11 assists and seven rebounds.
— The Washington Wizards continued their late-season playoff push with their fifth straight victory, 117-102 over Atlanta. John Wall scored 27 points and dished out 14 assists. Bradley Beal added 25.
— Paul George scored 15 points and Monta Ellis added 13 to help the Indiana Pacers pull away from the Philadelphia 76ers, 91-75.
— The Chicago Bulls got 18 points apiece from Derrick Rose and Taj Gibson in their 109-102 win over Sacramento.
— Isaiah Thomas had 28 points and seven assists and the Boston Celtics held on to beat the Orlando Magic 107-96.
— Detroit nipped Milwaukee 92-91 on Andre Drummond's tip-in with 2 seconds left. Khris Middleton led the Bucks with 27.
— The Memphis Grizzlies beat the Phoenix Suns 103-97. Zach Randolph had 14 points and 12 boards for the Grizzlies.
Nash back in scoring column
UNDATED (AP)— Rick Nash scored his first goal since returning from a leg injury and Henrik Lundqvist made 25 saves in leading the New York Rangers to a 4-2 victory over the Florida Panthers.
Viktor Stalberg, Mats Zuccarello and Tanner Glass also scored for the Rangers, who moved two points ahead of idle Pittsburgh for second place in the Metropolitan Division.
In other hockey:
— Brandon Manning's first NHL goal midway through the second period snapped a tie and powered the Philadelphia Flyers to a 4-1 win over the New York Islanders, who have lost five of six.
— William Nylander had a goal and two assists and the Toronto Maple Leafs earned a 5-2 win over the Calgary Flames.
— Nashville topped the L.A. Kings 5-2. Ryan Johansen had a goal and two assists.
GW, Georgia Tech into the quarters
WEST LONG BRANCH, N.J. (AP) — Tyler Cavanaugh had 22 points and 12 rebounds, Patricio Garino scored 19 on 8-of-12 shooting and George Washington beat Monmouth 87-71 to advance to its first NIT quarterfinal.
Fourth-seeded George Washington will host No. 2 seed Florida on Wednesday.
In another NIT second round game, Adam Smith made five 3-pointers and scored 21 and Georgia Tech beat South Carolina 83-66.
Dixon to leave Pitt for TCU
UNDATED (AP) — Jamie Dixon is leaving Pittsburgh to take over as head basketball coach at his alma mater.
Pitt athletic director Scott Barnes says that Dixon is going to TCU. There was no official confirmation from TCU, which a week earlier fired Trent Johnson.
After leading Pittsburgh to 11 NCAA Tournament appearances the past 13 seasons, Dixon will take over a program that hasn't been to the tournament since 1998. He was a senior guard for TCU in 1987.
Johnson's TCU teams won eight Big 12 Conference games in four seasons.
The 50-year-old Dixon was under contract at Pittsburgh until 2023.
COLLEGE BASKETBALL-NBA DRAFT
LSU freshman heading to the pros...So is FSU's Beasley
BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) — LSU forward Ben Simmons says he is leaving the school to turn pro.
The freshman says he will soon hire an agent and enter the NBA draft.
Simmons led the Tigers in scoring, rebounds and assists this season, averaging 19.2 points, 11.8 rebounds and 4.8 assists.
Also heading to the NBA is Florida State freshman guard Malik Beasley. The 6-foot-5 Beasley was third among freshmen in scoring in the Atlantic Coast Conference this season, averaging 15.6 points per game.
Counsell says Liriano on the mend
PHOENIX (AP) — Brewers manager Craig Counsell says outfielder Rymer Liriano is doing OK a day after being hit in the face by a pitch.
Liriano sustained multiple facial fractures when he was struck by Dodgers pitcher Matt West during an exhibition game Sunday. Manager Craig Counsell has visited him in the hospital and says Liriano will start the season on the disabled list.
Liriano was carried off the field on a backboard after the incident. He was in the mix to start the season in center field for the rebuilding Brewers.
Going deep on international
UNDATED (AP) — The NFL is looking into playing a regular-season game in China as early as the 2018 season. An analysis of how much interest there would be in such a game in the world's most populous country is under way and being discussed at this week's owners' meetings. Few details have been settled, including which Chinese city the league will target.
This year, the NFL will stage three games in London, two at its usual venue, Wembley Stadium, and one at Twickenham rugby ground. The league also will return to Mexico for a regular-season game in November.
In other league notes:
— The Minnesota Vikings have signed tight end Brian Leonhardt. The 6-foot-5, 255-pound Leonhardt went undrafted out of Bemidji State and spent time with Oakland and Cleveland over his first two years in the NFL. He played last season for San Francisco, where his position coach was Tony Sparano, now offensive line coach of the Vikings.
— Monte Kiffin is coming back to coach with the Jacksonville Jaguars. The 76-year-old has been hired as an assistant coach on the defensive side of the ball. He worked with the team during the 2015 offseason and helped coach Gus Bradley earlier this year during his search for a new defensive coordinator. This will be Kiffin's 50th year of coaching, with 28 years of NFL experience and 21 years in the college ranks.
— The Detroit Lions have signed wide receiver and punt returner Jeremy Kerley. He had 182 receptions for 2,225 yards and nine touchdowns with the New York Jets over five seasons, leading them in punt returns each year.
— James Starks is returning to Green Bay to rejoin Eddie Lacy in the Packers' backfield, getting what one source says is a two-year deal worth $6 million. Starks re-signed with the Packers after spending more than a week on the market as an unrestricted free agent.
— The Supreme Court is staying out of a dispute between videogame maker Electronic Arts Inc. and former National Football League players who accuse the company of using their likenesses in the popular Madden NFL video game series without approval. The justices are letting stand an appeals court ruling that said the company's use of the players' likenesses was not protected as "incidental use" under the First Amendment.
Electronic Arts previously settled a similar case brought by college football and basketball players for $40 million.
SOCCER-US WORLD CUP QUALIFYING
Dempsey rejoins national team
MIAMI (AP) — Clint Dempsey is expected to play his first game with the U.S. in nine months when the national soccer team plays a World Cup Qualifying match Friday in Guatemala.
The 33-year-old Dempsey was left off the USA roster for two qualifying matches in November because coach Jurgen Klinsmann wanted to look at younger players.
Dempsey has 48 goals while playing for Team USA, second in history behind the 57 scored by Landon Donovan.
INDIAN WELLS-WTA CRITICISM
Tennis tourney director quits after criticizing women pros
LOS ANGELES (AP) — The tournament director of the BNP Paribas Open who said women's pro tennis players "ride on the coattails of the men" has resigned.
Tournament owner Larry Ellison announced Monday night that Raymond Moore was quitting as chief executive officer and tournament director of the $7 million event in the California desert.
Ellison says Moore informed him of his decision to quit when they spoke earlier in the day. Ellison says he understands Moore's decision.
Moore apologized after he was roundly criticized by executives from the women's and men's pro tours, players Serena Williams and Victoria Azarenka and on social media for his comments Sunday on the tournament's last day.
The 69-year-old former touring pro from South Africa has worked for the desert tournament that features both men's and women's players for several years.
Basketball analyst in "unchartered waters"
NEW YORK (AP) — Popular Turner Sports reporter Craig Sager says in an interview with HBO that his leukemia is no longer in remission.
Sager missed 11 months while undergoing treatment and a bone marrow transplant from his son before returning to his position on the sideline during TNT's NBA coverage in March 2015. But he says in a "Real Sports" interview to air Tuesday that he learned last month that the cancer was no longer in remission.
The 64-year-old Sager says he is in "unchartered waters" and must keep his strength up. He adds he has already undergone two stem cell transplants and it's very rare that someone would have a third.