Wednesday’s Sports In Brief
NEW YORK (AP) — The NBA plans to keep its next All-Star Game in Salt Lake City, despite its opposition to Utah’s ban on transgender youth athletes playing on girls teams.
The Utah Jazz are set to host the event next February but there was speculation the NBA could take it away because of what the team called “discriminatory legislation.”
But Commissioner Adam Silver said the event will stay put as planned.
The NBA pulled the 2017 All-Star Game out of Charlotte because of its opposition to a North Carolina law known as HB2 that limited anti-discrimination protections for lesbian, gay and transgender people. The game was played in New Orleans before the league returned to Charlotte in 2019.
Silver said the circumstances are different this time, adding that the league didn’t want to be in a position where it risked having to keep moving its events as similar laws were becoming more common. When Utah’s GOP lawmakers pushed through their ban last month, it joined 11 other states with similar legislation.
DETROIT (AP) — Luka Doncic had 26 points, 14 assists and eight assists to lead the Dallas Mavericks to a 131-113 win over the Detroit Pistons.
The Mavericks are 20 games above .500 for the first time since 2011, when they went on to win the NBA title. They’re set up to earn home-court advantage in the playoffs for the first time since coach Jason Kidd was their point guard during the championship season.
Dallas reached the 50-win mark for the first time in seven years, and just the second since winning their only NBA title.
Jalen Brunson had 24 points for the Mavericks, who have won five of their last six to build momentum going into the playoffs next week.
LOS ANGELES (AP) — Norman Powell scored 24 points after being out two months, Paul George added 19 points in three quarters to go over 15,000 in his career, and the Los Angeles Clippers edged the NBA-leading Phoenix Suns 113-109.
With nothing at stake, Phoenix rested All-Star guards Devin Booker and Chris Paul and fellow starters Deandre Ayton and Jae Crowder on the second night of a back-to-back. The Suns had already set a franchise record for wins in a season with 63 by eliminating the Lakers from playoff contention Tuesday.
The Clippers beat up the Suns for three quarters, leading by 39 points in the third. But Phoenix’s reserves put together a 48-point fourth quarter and then ran out of time.
NEW YORK (AP) — Kevin Durant had 32 points, 11 assists and 10 rebounds, leading the Brooklyn Nets back from 21 points down to a 110-98 victory over the New York Knicks that strengthened their chances of the best spot possible next week in the Eastern Conference play-in tournament.
After watching the Nets come back from 28 down when he was hurt in their last visit to Madison Square Garden, Durant scored 23 points in the second half to fuel this comeback that pulled Brooklyn within a game of Cleveland for seventh place in the East.
The Nets host the Cavaliers on Friday night. If they win that and then beat Indiana on Sunday in their regular-season finale, they would finish seventh and need to win one game in two chances at home in the play-in to qualify for the postseason.
WASHINGTON (AP) — John Carlson scored twice and added two assists for a four-point game, Alex Ovechkin reached 1,400 career points with his 43rd goal of the season and the Washington Capitals beat the Tampa Bay Lightning 4-3 to snap their skid at two.
Martin Fehervary also scored for Washington, which sent the Lightning to a third consecutive loss. Ilya Samsonov made 25 saves in his first home start since allowing three goals on 10 shots and getting the hook after the first intermission Feb. 28 against Toronto.
DETROIT (AP) — WINNIPEG, Manitoba (AP) — Sam Gagner scored twice to top 500 career points, and Detroit beat Winnipeg 3-1.
Michael Rasmussen had the tiebreaking goal at 9:11 of the third period for Detroit, Dylan Larkin had two assists and Thomas Greiss finished with 32 saves. Red Wings coach Jeff Blashill got his 200th victory.
Detroit won for the second straight night after beating Boston 5-3 on Tuesday.
SAN DIEGO (AP) — Steve Lavin, the former coach at UCLA and St. John’s, was hired to take over the struggling program at the University of San Diego.
Lavin, 57, replaces Sam Scholl, who was fired March 6 after the Toreros went 15-16 in a third straight losing season. The Toreros have had just four winning seasons and one NCAA Tournament appearance under three coaches since Brad Holland was fired after going 18-14 in 2006-07.
Athletic director Bill McGillis said Lavin had been a candidate since the beginning of the monthlong search process.
NEW YORK (AP) — About 1 in 4 fans of Major League Baseball feel at least some anger toward the sport after its first work stoppage in a generation, according to a new poll, but the vast majority are still excited about the new season.
Only 27% of Americans say they are currently a fan of MLB, according to the poll from The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research.
The poll also finds 32% of Americans 45 and older say they currently are fans, but only 22% of younger adults say they are, a trend MLB management says it is working to reverse.
Even among fans, few were very attuned to the 99-day lockout that delayed the start of the season from March 31 until Thursday or say that it had a major impact on their views of MLB.