AP Wednesday Sports Roundup
Rockets knock off Heat
UNDATED (AP) — The Houston Rockets had to start Josh Smith at center on Tuesday while Dwight Howard served a one-game suspension for making contact with an official this weekend. The lineup change didn't hurt as the Rockets ended a three-game skid with a convincing 115-102 triumph over Miami.
Smith scored all of Houston's points in a 7-2 run that put the Rockets ahead 104-89 with about five minutes left. He finished with a season-high 19 points in his first start since being reacquired from the Clippers late last month.
James Harden finished with 26 points and tied a career high with 14 assists as the Rockets ended the Heat's four-game winning streak.
Howard had to sit out the game for striking the arm of an official in Saturday's loss to Washington. Houston coach J.B. Bickerstaff was also fined $10,000 for public criticism of the officiating after the game.
Also in the NBA:
— The Toronto Raptors won for the 12th time in 13 games as Kyle Lowry drained five 3-pointers while scoring 26 points in a 102-97 victory over Phoenix. DeMar DeRozan chipped in 22 points for the Raptors, who bounced back from Monday's loss to Denver and spoiled the debut of Suns interim coach Earl Watson.
— Isaiah Thomas had 20 points and eight assists as the Celtics won for the fifth time in six games, beating the Knicks 97-89 in New York. Jae Crowder and Tyler Zeller each added 16 points for Boston, which is 28-22 after bouncing back from Sunday's five-point loss to Orlando.
— CJ McCollum poured in 30 points and Portland picked up its fifth consecutive win by downing Milwaukee 107-95. Damian Lillard had 14 points and 12 boards, while Al-Farouq Aminu furnished 16 points for the Trail Blazers.
— Kobe Bryant scored a season-high 38 points and the Los Angeles Lakers blew an 11-point, fourth-quarter lead in a 119-115 victory over Minnesota. The Timberwolves led 102-101 with about five minutes left before Bryant scored 14 points the rest of the way, allowing the Lakers to end a team record-tying 10-game losing streak.
Suns lose Warren for rest of season
UNDATED (AP) — The Phoenix Suns have learned that forward T.J. Warren is out for the season with a broken right foot.
Warren appeared in 47 games this season, averaging 11 points and 3.1 rebounds. He was shooting 50 percent from the field and was part of the team's promising young trio that included Devin Booker and Archie Goodwin.
TOP 25 COLLEGE BASKETBALL
Sooners rip TCU
UNDATED (AP) — Top-ranked Oklahoma didn't get a great performance by Buddy Hield on Tuesday, but it was more than enough for the Sooners to improve to 19-2.
Hield scored 17 points on 7-for-13 from the field and 3-for-8 from 3-point range as Oklahoma hammered TCU 95-72. The nation's No. 2 scorer was held well below his 26.0 average and was coming off consecutive 30-point performances. But the Sooners were aided by other sources in their fourth win in a row.
Isaiah Cousins came within three assists of a triple-double, finishing with 13 points and 10 rebounds. Jordan Woodward finished with 14 points, and Ryan Spangler had 11 points and 11 rebounds for the Sooners.
In other top-25 finals:
— The night's biggest upset occurred near Chicago as Myke Henry scored 27 points and snagged 11 rebounds to lead DePaul past 11th-ranked Providence 77-70. Billy Garrett Jr. added 16 points for the Blue Demons, who were just 1-8 in the Big East and losers in each of their previous nine games before outrebounding the Friars 48-24.
— No. 14 West Virginia won the lone top-25 matchup of the night by rallying from a 15-point deficit to knock off 13th-rated Iowa State 81-76. Jaysean Paige scored 23 points in the Mountaineers fourth Big 12 road win, including a go-ahead 3-pointer with 1:05 left. Devin Williams added 17 points and 18 rebounds as the 18-4 Mountaineers won for the third time in four games.
— No. 20 Kentucky coughed up a 21-point lead in an 84-77 loss at Tennessee. Kevin Punter Jr. scored 27 points and Armani Moore added 18 and 13 rebounds to help the Vols send the Wildcats to their second straight loss.
— No. 22 Indiana closed the first half on a 25-0 run and cruised to an 80-67 win at Michigan. Yogi Ferrell had 17 points and nine assists, while Robert Johnson added 16 points in the Hoosier's first victory at Ann Arbor since 2008.
— Yante Maten scored 18 points and Kenny Gaines had 17 as Georgia beat No. 25 South Carolina 69-56. J.J. Frazier scored all 13 of his points in the second half, including two 3-pointers in the closing minutes for the Bulldogs.
No Coach K for Duke-Georgia Tech game
ATLANTA (AP) — Hall of Fame coach Mike Krzyzewski was not with the Duke Blue Devils for Tuesday's 80-71 win at Georgia Tech.
School officials issued a statement about an hour before tipoff saying Krzyzewski "was feeling under the weather" after the team meal Monday night and stayed in Durham, North Carolina. Doctors at the university's hospital checked him out and told him to stay home.
Associate head coach Jeff Capel was in charge during Coach K's absence.
Newton says skin color is no big deal
UNDATED (AP) — Cam Newton has grown tired of discussing the relevance of an African-American quarterback appearing in the Super Bowl.
The Carolina Panthers signal-caller was grilled on the topic during a news conference Tuesday and finally told a reporter that "it's not an issue. It's an issue to you." Newton added that "I think we shattered that a long time ago."
This was the third time Newton had to deal with the subject since the Panthers made the Super Bowl. Instead of discussing race, he stressed the importance of being a role model and an inspiration to others.
Newton isn't the first African-American quarterback to make it to the Super Bowl. Seattle's Russell Wilson appeared in the previous two title games, Doug Williams won it with the 1987 Redskins and Steve McNair, Donovan McNabb and Colin Kaepernick have started Super Bowl games.
Also today, the NFL announced that Lady Gaga is set to sing the national anthem at the Super Bow. Gaga won a Golden Globe for her role in "American Horror Story: Hotel" last month and is nominated for best original song at the next month's Academy Awards.
Oscar-winning actress Marlee Matlin will perform in American Sign Language during the national anthem.
Brown may be ready to ditch Manziel
CLEVELAND (AP) — Troublesome quarterback Johnny Manziel (man-ZEHL') may be on his way out in Cleveland.
The team issued a strong statement Tuesday, condemning Manziel's actions and pointing to the club releasing him in March.
Manziel's off-the-field issues have been a problem almost from the day Cleveland drafted the Heisman Trophy winner in the first round in 2014. Last weekend, he was involved in a disturbance with his ex-girlfriend in Dallas that is being investigated by police and the NFL.
The Browns can release Manziel as early as Monday. But salary-cap implications point to the move happening March 9, when the league's new year begins.
Panthers finally win in Washington.
UNDATED (AP) — It took five years and 11 tries for the Florida Panthers to finally earn another victory in Washington.
Justin Huberdeau scored twice and had an assist while the Panthers were building a 4-0 lead in a 5-2 win over the Capitals. Aleksander Barkov and Vincent Trochek each had a goal and an assist for the Panthers, who had dropped 10 straight in Washington since a 3-0 shutout win on Dec. 9, 2010.
Al Montoya stopped 36 shots and blanked the Caps until the third period.
The win gives the Atlantic Division-leading Panthers a seven-point lead over Tampa Bay and Detroit. The Capitals still lead the Metropolitan Division by 15 points over the New York Rangers.
Elsewhere on NHL ice:
— Goals by Richard Panik and Artemi Panarin gave the Chicago Blackhawks a 2-0 lead just 7 ½ minutes into a 2-1 triumph at Colorado. Corey Crawford handled 22 shots as the Hawks maintained their three-point lead over Dallas in the Central Division and Western Conference races.
— Tyler Seguin's 26th and 27th goals of the season were the difference as the Stars topped Winnipeg 5-3. John Klingberg added a goal and an assist in the Stars' second straight win since a 1-4-1 stretch.
— Los Angeles had dropped three of four before Dustin Brown scored twice in the Kings' 6-2 rout of the Coyotes at Phoenix. The game was tied 2-2 until Marian Gaborik and Brown scored 12 seconds apart late in the second period.
— Troy Brouwer scored with just 65 seconds left to give St. Louis a 1-0 verdict over the Predators in Nashville. Brian Elliott needed to make just 16 saves in his first shutout of the season and 31st of his career.
— New Jersey won for the fifth time in six games as David Schlemko's power-play goal with 8:46 left snapped a 2-2 tie in the Devils' 3-2 triumph over the Rangers. Lee Stempniak and Joseph Blandisi also scored to back Cory Schneider's 31-save effort.
— Brock Nelson's team-leading 20th goal was the go-ahead tally as the New York Islanders beat Minnesota 5-3. Mikhail Grabovski and John Tavares each had a goal and an assist to support Jean-Francois Berube, who turned back 40 shots for his first NHL victory.
— Sidney Crosby registered his first natural hat trick in more than five years to lead Pittsburgh's fourth straight win, 6-5 against Ottawa. Crosby has reached the 20-goal mark on the strength of tallies in each of his last eight home games.
— Connor McDavid returned to the Edmonton lineup and provided a goal and two assists in a 5-1 trouncing of Columbus. The first overall pick in last year's draft was playing for the first time since he broke his collarbone Nov. 3 against the Flyers.
— Toronto knocked off Boston 4-3 on P.A. Parenteau's goal 3:06 into overtime. Leo Komarov and Nazem Kadri scored back-to-back goals to allow the Maple Leafs to erase a 3-1 deficit in their first victory in five games.
— Wayne Simmonds scored twice, including the game-winner as Philadelphia doubled up the slumping Montreal Canadiens, 4-2. The Flyers earned their second straight victory since a three-game skid, while the Canadiens fell for the eighth time in nine games.
— Rickard Rakell Hampus Lindholm and Ryan Garbutt provided Anaheim's goals in a 3-2 triumph over San Jose. Frederik Anderson made 30 saves in the Ducks' fourth consecutive win and sixth in seven games.
NASCAR's Tony Stewart hospitalized
CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) — Three-time NASCAR champion Tony Stewart has been hospitalized Tuesday for a back injury with the Daytona 500 less than three weeks away.
A spokesman for Stewart-Haas Racing said The 44-year-old Stewart was injured Sunday during an accident while he was riding an all-terrain vehicle somewhere on the West Coast. SHR said the team was unsure of the extent of his injuries, but that he was able to move all extremities.
Stewart is retiring at the end of this NASCAR season. He was due to report next week to Daytona International Speedway to begin preparing for the Feb. 21 race.
Nats get utilityman Ryan
WASHINGTON (AP) — The Washington Nationals have added infield depth by working out a minor league contract with Brendan Ryan. The 33-year-old Ryan will compete for a backup job behind second baseman Daniel Murphy.
Ryan played six different positions last season while hitting .229 in 47 games for the New York Yankees. He is a career .234 hitter with 203 RBIs in 879 games.
Dodgers add Maddux, Ibanez to front office
LOS ANGELES (AP) — The Dodgers have hired Hall of Fame pitcher Greg Maddux and 19-year veteran Raul Ibanez as special assistants to president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman.
The team said Maddux and Ibanez will also work in scouting, player development and interacting with players at the major and minor league levels.
Maddux spent the last four years as special assistant to Texas general manager Jon Daniels in the Rangers' organization. Ibanez will be working in a front office for the first time.
Furyk to have wrist surgery
UNDATED (AP) — Former U.S. Open champ Jim Furyk will undergo surgery on a troublesome wrist that hasn't healed.
Furyk will miss at least three months of the just-started season. There is no word on when the surgery is planned.
He's been out of action since mid-September in an attempt to resolve the problem.