AP Wednesday Sports Roundup
Reshuffled Team USA routs Guatemala 4-0 in must-win situation
COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — The United States men's soccer team is still alive for the 2018 World Cup.
The Americans routed Guatemala 4-0 in a must-win game for Team USA in World Cup qualifying after their embarrassing 2-0 loss in Guatemala last Friday. Clint Dempsey opened the scoring in the 12th minute and Geoff Cameron's header in the 35th minute gave Team USA a 2-0 halftime advantage. Then Graham Zusi scored in the first minute of the second half before Jozy Altidore finished the scoring in the 89th minute.
Team USA goalie Brad Guzman, one of five new starters for the Americans, needed to make just two saves in recording the shutout.
The victory put the U.S. in good position to advance. The Americans are 27-0-2 at home in qualifying since 2001.
Superstars rest and Thunder and Cavs both lose
UNDATED (AP) — Marcus Morris scored 24 points, and the Detroit Pistons took advantage of Kevin Durant's absence in an 88-82 victory over Oklahoma City that ended the Thunder's eight-game winning streak. The Thunder rested Durant and Serge Ibaka, and Oklahoma City was held to only nine points in the third period en route to its lowest-scoring game of the season. Russell Westbrook was high man for OKC with 24 points but it came on 8-for-28 shooting.
Andre Drummond had 13 points and 15 rebounds for the Pistons. Tobias Harris added 17 points for Detroit.
In other NBA action:
— James Harden scored 27 points and the Houston Rockets rallied from a 20-point deficit for a 106-100 victory over the Cleveland Cavaliers, who rested LeBron James. Harden scored 18 points in the fourth quarter when Houston outscored Cleveland 35-16. The Cavs are 1-3 in games in which James sits.
— League-leading Golden State improved to 67-7 by winning its 54th straight regular-season home game, 102-94 over Washington. The Warriors erased an early nine-point deficit by going on a 12-0 run to end the first half and pulled away late. Stephen Curry was high man for the Warriors with 26 points. The Warriors moved five games ahead of idle San Antonio in race for best record in the NBA.
— Charlotte won its 13th game in March by beating Philadelphia 115-100. Nicolas Batum had 19 points, 12 rebounds and 12 assists for his second triple-double of the season.
— Jimmy Butler made a tiebreaking jumper with 3.7 seconds left, and the Chicago Bulls beat the Indiana Pacers 98-96 to snap a four-game losing streak. Nikola Mirotic scored 28 points as Chicago got back to .500.
— Aaron Gordon had 20 points and Elfrid Payton had 11 points and 12 assists as the Orlando Magic scored a season high in routing the Brooklyn Nets 139-105.
Atlanta pitching for 2017 game
ATLANTA (AP) — Atlanta city leaders are asking the NBA to move the 2017 All-Star Game from Charlotte after North Carolina lawmakers passed legislation seen as limiting LGBT protections.
Atlanta's City Council introduced a resolution Tuesday asking the NBA to move the game to Atlanta after North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory signed a law critics called discriminatory against lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender persons.
The North Carolina law prevents Charlotte and other local governments from approving LGBT protections at restaurants, hotels and stores.
An NBA spokesman says the league is hopeful Charlotte and North Carolina can work through their differences long before the game.
Two more Pelicans out for the season...Paul out of Olympics
METAIRIE, La. (AP) — The Pelicans say guard Jrue Holiday and forward Alonzo Gee will miss the rest of this season because of injuries suffered in Monday's win over the Knicks.
The Pelicans say Holiday's orbital eyewall was fractured when he was hit by an apparently inadvertent elbow from New York's Kristaps Porzingis. The club says Gee ruptured a muscle in his right thigh.
Pelicans forward Anthony Davis, and guards Tyreke Evans, Eric Gordon and Bryce Dejean-Jones, already had been shut down for the season.
In other basketball news:
— Chris Paul won't play for the U.S. basketball team in this summer's Olympics, passing up a chance for a third gold medal. Paul played for the U.S. in 2008 and 2012 and could have joined LeBron James and Carmelo Anthony in trying to become the first players to win three Olympic basketball gold medals.
Penguins solidify playoff chances...Stars and Blues still tied atop Central
UNDATED (AP) — Sidney Crosby and Phil Kessel beat Chad Johnson in a shootout and the Pittsburgh Penguins inched closer to a 10th straight playoff berth with a 5-4 win over the Buffalo Sabres.
The Penguins remain three points clear of the New York Islanders for third in the crowded Metropolitan Division.
In other hockey:
— Brian Elliott made 20 saves and Vladimir Tarasenko scored his 36th goal to lift the St. Louis Blues over the Colorado Avalanche 3-1 for their fifth straight victory. David Backes and Troy Brouwer also scored for the Blues, who are tied with Dallas atop the Central Division.
__ The Dallas Stars beat the Nashville Predators 5-2. Radek Faksa and Jason Spezza scored 46 seconds apart in the second period.
— Reid Boucher scored a tiebreaking power-play goal early in the third period, Keith Kinkaid made 39 saves and the New Jersey Devils kept their faint playoff hopes alive with a 2-1 victory over struggling Boston. The Bruins have lost six of seven.
— Jared Spurgeon, Erik Haula and Nino Niederreiter scored in the third period to lift surging Minnesota to a 4-1 victory over the Chicago Blackhawks for their sixth straight victory.
— The playoff-bound San Jose Sharks beat Vancouver 4-1. Logan Couture scored twice. Joe Pavelski added his 37th goal for the Sharks.
— Kyle Okposo scored the only goal of the shootout and the New York Islanders rallied for a 2-1 victory over the Carolina Hurricanes. That's the 'Canes' 16th overtime loss.
— Montreal rallied with a pair of third period goals to beat Detroit 4-3. Max Pacioretty scored twice, including the game-winner, his 27th tally of the season.
— Nazem Kadri scored two of his three goals on second-period power plays and the Toronto Maple Leafs beat the Florida Panthers 5-2.
UNDATED (AP) — The Associated Press has announced its 2015-16 All-America team. Michigan State's Denzel Valentine and Buddy Hield of Oklahoma were unanimous picks, having been chosen on every first-team ballot from the 65-member national media panel that selects the weekly poll.
Tyler Ulis of Kentucky was next with 43 first-team votes, while Brice Johnson of North Carolina received 39 and Malcolm Brogdon of Virginia had 36.
Ulis, a sophomore, was the only non-senior selected to the team.
The voting was done before the NCAA Tournament.
New deal for VCU coach, new coach for Santa Clara
RICHMOND, Va. (AP) — Virginia Commonwealth's men's basketball coach Will Wade has had his contract restructured and extended. His new deal keeps him with the Rams through the 2024 season. Wade just completed his first season at the school and had a record of 25-11 and finished in a three-way tie for the Atlantic 10 Conference title. There had been speculation he was being looked at by other schools.
— Former Arizona State coach Herb Sendek has been hired as Santa Clara's new basketball coach. Sendek, who replaces the fired Kerry Keating, has also been a head coach at North Carolina State and Miami of Ohio. He has a career coaching record of 413-295.
COLLEGE BASKETBALL-NBA DRAFT
Kansas loses guard Selden...Irish lose Jackson
LAWRENCE, Kan. (AP) — Kansas guard Wayne Selden Jr. is skipping his senior season to enter the NBA draft. He plans to hire representation in the coming weeks, which means he won't be able to pull his name out of the draft. Selden averaged 13.8 points this past season, helping the Jayhawks win their 12th consecutive Big 12 championship.
SOUTH BEND, Ind. (AP) — Demetrius Jackson, who helped Notre Dame advance to the NCAA Tournament Elite Eight in back-to-back seasons for the first time in 37 years, is entering the NBA draft. Jackson averaged 15.8 points and 4.7 assists in playing 36 minutes a game this season.
Valpo edges BYU to reach NIT final
NEW YORK (AP) — Valparaiso held off BYU, 72-70, to reach Thursday's NIT championship at Madison Square Garden. David Skara sank the tiebreaking 3-pointer with 20 seconds left and scored 15 points.
George Washington beat San Diego State 65-46 on 20 points and 11 rebounds from Tyler Cavanaugh.
Harvey passes clot, ready for opening day
UNDATED (AP) — Mets ace Matt Harvey has been cleared to pitch the season opener Sunday against Kansas City. That was in doubt after he began to feel discomfort Sunday that worsened through the night. It turns out he had a blood clot in his bladder which he's been able to pass.
He was 13-8 with a 2.71 ERA in 29 starts last year after missing 2014 while recovering from Tommy John surgery.
In other spring training news:
— Ricky Nolasco is the fifth starter in the Twins rotation after the team cut its roster to the 25-man regular season limit. He gets the nod despite a 5.64 ERA over his last two injury-affected seasons with Minnesota.
— The Cubs have released veteran outfielder Shane Victorino. He was in camp on a minor league contract. The Cubs have also placed utilityman Javier Baez on the 15-day disabled list with an injured left thumb.
— Jeff Francouer has made the Braves opening day roster after he hit .327 in 19 spring training games. Francoeur made his major league debut with the Braves back in 2005.
— The Texas Rangers have acquired catcher Bryan Holaday in a trade with the Detroit Tigers, who get two minor leaguers. Holaday hit .281 with two homers and 13 RBIs in 24 games with Detroit last season.
NFL presses NY Times to retract concussion story
NEW YORK (AP) — The NFL has demanded The New York Times retract a front-page story that called the league's concussion research flawed and likened the NFL's handling of head trauma to the tobacco industry's response to the dangers of cigarettes.
In a letter from its law firm to the general counsels of the newspaper and obtained by The Associated Press, the league says it was defamed by the Times.
The NFL added the story published last Thursday didn't present any evidence to support the claim the league concealed concussion data.
The NFL issued a veiled threat of legal action.
Times sports editor Jason Stallman says the paper sees no reason to retract anything.