AP Thursday Sports Roundup
Warriors stay 4 games up on Spurs...Cavs boost lead over Raptors
UNDATED (AP) —With 11 games left in the regular season, the Golden State Warriors increasingly look like they will maintain home-court advantage through the playoffs--and against their toughest rival, the San Antonio Spurs.
The Warriors remained four games up on the Spurs after beating the L.A. Clippers 114-98 behind Stephen Curry's 33. Klay Thompson added 32 for his 15th 30-plus point effort this season. The Warriors are 64-7 overall, 33-0 at home following their 51st straight regular season home victory.
In other NBA action:
__ In San Antonio, Kawhi Leonard matched his career high with 32 points before leaving with a bruised quadriceps, and the San Antonio Spurs beat the Miami Heat 112-88 to improve their home record to 36-0. The Spurs are 60-11
— LeBron James scored 26 points, Kevin Love added 24 and the Cleveland Cavaliers scored a 113-104 victory over the Milwaukee Bucks. Kyrie Irving celebrated his 24th birthday by flirting with a triple-double -- 16 points, eight rebounds and eight assists.
Isaiah Thomas scored 23 points, Evan Turner added 17 and the Boston Celtics beat the Toronto Raptors 91-79. Toronto had a four-game winning streak snapped and fell 2 ½ games behind Cleveland for the best record in the East.
— Atlanta ended the Washington Wizards' five-game winning streak, 122-101. Reserve Dennis Schroder scored 23 points. Kyle Korver connected on five 3-pointers for his 15 points.
— Andre Drummond had 30 points and 14 rebounds, and the Detroit Pistons never trailed in their 118-102 victory over Orlando.
— Kobe Bryant said farewell to Phoenix by scoring 17 points but Los Angeles lost to the Suns 119-107. Devin Booker, the Suns' 19-year-old rookie, led all scorers with 28.
— Damian Lillard had 27 points and six assists, Ed Davis scored all of his 16 points in the first half and the Portland Trail Blazers beat the Dallas Mavericks 109-103.
— Rookie Karl-Anthony Towns had 26 points, 11 rebounds and four blocks to lead the Minnesota Timberwolves to a 113-104 victory over Sacramento.
— The New York Knicks beat the Chicago Bulls 115-107. Rookie Kristaps Porzingis had a career-high 29 points and 10 boards for the Knicks.
— In a low-scoring affair, Utah edged Houston 89-87. Gordon Hayward led the Jazz with 22. Derrick Favors' dunk with 1.6 seconds left won it.
— Two also-rans played an exciting game in Denver where the Nuggets edged the Philadelphia 76ers 104-103. Emmanuel Mudiay won it with a three-pointer at the buzzer to cap a 27-point performance. T.J. McConnell had 17 off the bench for the Sixers.
Rivers expects Griffin back this season
OAKLAND, Calif. (AP)— L.A. Clippers coach Doc Rivers expects Blake Griffin to return before the regular season ends from a broken hand the star forward suffered by punching an assistant equipment manager.
Griffin isn't practicing yet with Los Angeles. But he is running and shooting again. Rivers says Griffin is "doing great. He looks pretty good, so that's why I feel confident."
Rangers hand B's fourth straight loss...Isles end slide
UNDATED (AP) — The Boston Bruins are playing some of their worst hockey at the worst time of the NHL season.
Keith Yandle set up two first-period power-play goals and Henrik Lundqvist made 39 saves, and the New York Rangers beat Boston 5-2. The Bruins are on a season-worst four-game losing streak in which they've scored just five goals.
Mats Zuccarello, Derek Stepan, Derick Brassard, J.T. Miller and Rick Nash scored for New York. The Rangers have won two straight and inched a little closer to securing a spot in the playoffs with eight games left in the regular season.
In other hockey:
— Brock Nelson and Matt Martin scored 21 seconds apart in the second period and the New York Islanders beat the Ottawa Senators 3-1 to snap a season-high four-game losing streak.
A-Rod to retire after 2017 season
UNDATED (AP) — Alex Rodriguez has told ESPN that he plans to retire from baseball after the 2017 season. His plans were confirmed by spokesman Ron Berkowitz. Rodriguez has 687 home runs, 75 shy of Barry Bonds' career record. He returned last season from a one-year drug suspension. Later Wednesday, two New York-area newspapers reported that Rodriguez told them — one in an email and the other in a text — that he was "thinking in terms of my contract which ends in 2017." He told the New York Post and New York Daily News, "After that, we'll see what happens. I've got two years and more than 300 games to play."
In other spring training news:
— Veteran right-hander Jeremy Hellickson will be the starting pitcher for the Phillies in their season opener at Cincinnati on April 4. The 28-year old went 9-12 with Arizona last season before being traded to the Phillies on Nov. 14. He has given up one run in three starts this spring.
— The Blue Jays have announced that Marcus Stroman will be their opening day starter on April 3 when they play at Tampa. Blue Jays manager John Gibbons says Stroman might also get the start for the home opener on April 8 against Boston.
— Cole Hamels has been picked to start on opening day for the AL West champion Texas Rangers. They open up at home on April 4 against Seattle. Hamels will be the seventh different Texas starter on opening day in as many years. Hamels went 7-1 in 12 starts after the Rangers got him in a trade with the Phillies last July 31.
Magazine ranks MLB teams by value
NEW YORK (AP) — Forbes has released its annual estimates for the teams in major league baseball and once again the Yankees are worth more than any other team. Forbes estimates the team is worth $3.4 billion, up 6 percent from last year. The second most valuable team is Los Angeles with the Dodgers valued at $2.5 billion, followed by the Red Sox at $2.3 billion, the Giants at $2.25 billion and the Cubs at $2.2 billion.
Miami is last at $675 million and Oakland 29th at $725 million.
Commissioner discusses games in China and sportsmanship
BOCA RATON, Fla. (AP) — NFL commissioner Roger Goodell says the league is looking into the possibility of playing games in China. Speaking to reporters after the end of league meetings in Florida, Goodell said the league will continue to play games in London as well as Mexico and that China is just too big of a market to ignore.
He also confirmed that Patriots' owner Robert Kraft had written him a letter asking that the actions taken against his team for "Deflategate" be reduced. Goodell says in a letter back to Kraft he denied the request.
And he said that the owners approved as a one-year trial ejecting a player who draws two unsportsmanlike conduct penalties from specific categories.
Those categories include throwing a punch at or kicking an opponent; taunting; and using abusive, threatening or insulting language or gestures.
Notes from around the NFL
BOCA RATON, Fla. (AP) — The New Orleans Saints have agreed to a new five-year contract with coach Sean Payton. The deal will run through the 2020 season. Payton had two years remaining on his current deal at about $8 million per season.
Payton is 87-57 in nine seasons in New Orleans. He has led the Saints to five playoff appearances and one Super Bowl title.
Elsewhere around the NFL:
— The Indianapolis Colts signed free agent cornerback Patrick Robinson. He was a 2010 first-round draft pick out of Florida State, who played his first five seasons with New Orleans. In 2015, Robinson started all 16 games with the San Diego Chargers.
— Free agent punter Bryan Anger has signed with Tampa Bay after spending his first four seasons in the NFL with Jacksonville. Anger was a third-round draft pick of the Jaguars in 2012 and has averaged 46.8 yards per punt during his career, the second-highest mark in league history.
Day wins despite back woes
AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — Jason Day overcame an early deficit to win his opening match in the Dell Match Play. Now he has to overcome a bad back.
Day dropped to his knee after his a tee shot on the 16th hole as he closed out Graeme McDowell, 3-and-2.
Day headed straight for the trailer to get it worked on.
Rickie Fowler rallied from 3 down on the back nine to square his match, only for Jason Dufner to pull out a 2-and-1 victory.
The round-robin format means Fowler can still win his group, though he will need help.
And world No. 1 Jordan Spieth (SPEETH) posted a 3-and-2 victory over Jamie Donaldson in their round-robin opener.
COLLEGE BASKETBALL-NBA DRAFT
Calipari's guys are all in...Providence's Bentil leaves door open
LEXINGTON, Ky. (AP) — John Calipari says that every Kentucky player eligible to declare will submit their names for this year's NBA draft.
Guards Tyler Ulis and Jamal Murray and 6-foot-11 Skal Labissiere are considered likely draft choices, but Calipari said walk-ons will also declare. Freshmen Isaac Humphries and Tai Wynyard won't because they will not turn 19 this year.
In other NBA draft news, Providence sophomore Ben Bentil says that he will declare for the NBA draft but not hire an agent, leaving open the option to return to school. The 6-foot-9 Bentil had a breakout season, leading the Big East in scoring at 21.2 points per game and averaging 7.7 rebounds.
Washington freshmen Marquese Chriss and Dejounte Murray have both declared for the NBA draft and will hire agents, ending their college careers after one season. Chriss averaged 13.7 points a game. Murray, a 6-foot-4 guard from Seattle, came on as the season progressed. He averaged 16.4 points, 6 rebounds and 4.4 assists per game.
Florida State freshman Dwayne Bacon announced he will submit his name for the NBA draft but will not hire an agent. He's a 6-foot-7 guard.
Dayton gives Miller another extension...Dawkins to UCF
UNDATED (AP) — Dayton men's basketball coach Archie Miller has gotten a contract extension for the third straight year after leading the Flyers to a share of the Atlantic 10 regular-season title and the NCAA Tournament.
Miller's extension adds one year and additional compensation, taking him through the 2022-23 season.
The Flyers are 115-55 during Miller's five seasons of reviving the program.
ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) — Former national player of the year Johnny Dawkins has been hired to be the new head basketball coach at Central Florida. Dawkins will be the Knights seventh head coach since the program's inception. The Duke product was fired last week at Stanford after eight seasons. He replaces Donnie Jones, who was fired on March 10.
GW makes history with win over Florida...Will meet San Diego State in semifinals
UNDATED (AP) — For the first time in George Washington basketball history, the Colonials are going to New York for the NIT semifinals. GW held off Florida 82-77 behind Tyler Cavanaugh's 23 points. Cavanaugh was 4 for 5 from 3-point land. Next up for GW is a semifinal date with San Diego State.
San Diego State beat Georgia Tech 72-56 in the second game. Trey Kell made a career-high tying four 3-poiners and finished with 18.
They join Valparaiso (val-pur-AY'-zoh) and BYU for the semifinals in New York Tuesday in Madison Square Garden.
Popular player and broadcaster dies
UNDATED (AP) — Former major league catcher and longtime broadcaster Joe Garagiola has passed away at 90. His nine-year playing career included helping his hometown St. Louis Cardinals win the 1946 World Series as a 20-year old rookie.
Following his playing career he had tremendous success in the broadcasting booth, doing games for NBC television and eventually the Arizona Diamondbacks. He also appeared on NBC's Today Show and was a frequent guest on the Tonight Show with Johnny Carson.
Growing up in the Hill neighborhood of St. Louis not far from future Hall of Famer Yogi Berra, Garagiola went on to hit .257 during nine years in the majors.
Which caused Garagiola to once remark, "Not only was I not the best catcher in the major leagues, I wasn't even the best catcher on my street."