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NBA-HARDEN TRADE

AP source: James Harden traded to Brooklyn Nets

UNDATED (AP) — Disgruntled All-Star guard James Harden is joining the Brooklyn Nets following a four-team deal involving the Houston Rockets, Indiana Pacers and Cleveland Cavaliers.

A person who spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity says Harden is leaving the Rockets just a day after saying the team wasn’t good enough to beat elite competition. The AP also learned that Victor Oladipo (oh-lah-DEE’-poh) is going from Indiana to Houston, Caris Levert is heading from Brooklyn to Indiana and the Cavaliers are getting Jarrett Allen and Taurean Prince from the Nets. The deal includes at least four draft picks and additional pick swaps.

Harden is the NBA’s three-time reigning scoring champion who has been dissatisfied with the team’s direction since the offseason. He missed the start of training camp and entered the day ranked just 18th among all league scorers.

The move gives the Nets a “Big 3” of Harden, Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving as soon as Irving returns to the team. Irving has missed five games for what the team says are personal reasons.

NBA-SCHEDULE

Bucks top Pistons again

UNDATED (AP) — The Milwaukee Bucks have gotten hot since a 5-4 start.

Giannis Antetokounmpo (YAH’-nihs an-teh-toh-KOON’-poh) had a triple-double and the Bucks picked up their third straight win by topping the Pistons for the third time this month, 110-101. Antetokounmpo delivered 22 points, 10 rebounds and 10 assists in what started as a laugher before the Pistons rallied.

Milwaukee led 52-29 at one point and had more 3-pointers than Detroit had field goals. Brook Lopez connected three times from beyond the arc in the first quarter, when the Bucks were 7 of 11 from long distance.

Jerami Grant led Detroit with 22 points.

Also on Wednesday’s NBA schedule:

— LeBron James scored 26 points and the Lakers stayed perfect on the road by ripping the Thunder, 128-99. James delivered nine points in a 66-second stretch of the third quarter. Montrezl (MAHN’-trehz) Harrell added 21 points, and Anthony Davis had 18 for the Lakers, who have opened the season 7-0 on the road for the first time in franchise history.

— Playing hours after reportedly acquiring James Harden, the Nets had four starters and three reserves score in double-figures in a 116-109 victory over the Knicks. Kevin Durant pumped in 26 points and Bruce Brown finished with 15 and 14 rebounds to help the Nets move back over .500 at 7-6.

— The Mavericks picked up a 104-93 win over the Hornets as Luka Doncic (DAHN’-kihch) had 34 points, 13 rebounds, nine assists and a career-high four blocks. Kristaps Porzingis scored 16 points in his season debut after recovering from knee surgery.

— Damian Lillard scored eight of his season-high 40 points in the final four minutes of the Trail Blazers’ 132-126 shooting win over the Kings. Portland tied a franchise record with 23 3-pointers, including six apiece from Lillard and CJ McCollum.

— The Grizzlies earned their third win in a row as Jonas Valanciunas (YOH’-nuhs val-ehn-CHOO’-nuhs) had 24 points and 16 rebounds in a 118-107 win against the Timberwolves. Grayson Allen scored a season-high 20 off the bench for Memphis, which outscored Minnesota 38-17 in the fourth quarter.

— Kawhi (kah-WY’) Leonard provided 28 points and Paul George added 27 for the Clippers in a 111-106 downing of the Pelicans. Leonard and George combined to score 16 consecutive points for Los Angeles after New Orleans got within four in the fourth quarter.

VIRUS OUTBREAK-NBA

Three more games postponed amid COVID-19

UNDATED (AP) — The Phoenix Suns are dealing with contact tracing that has forced the postponement of Wednesday’s game against Atlanta and Friday’s contest versus Golden State.

In addition, Friday’s game between the Pistons and Washington in Detroit has been postponed amid contact tracing among the Wizards.

Neither the Wizards nor the Suns would have enough available personnel to meet the minimum 8-player requirement.

Eight NBA games have been scrubbed since Sunday. Three of those games were slated for Wednesday.

Also sidelined Wednesday was Zion Williamson, who was ruled out by the Pelicans for their game at the Clippers because of the league’s health and safety protocols. That doesn’t mean he tested positive and simply could mean he was potentially exposed to someone who has.

The NBA also revealed Wednesday that 16 players returned positive COVID-19 tests between Jan. 6 and Tuesday. That’s by far the most in a one-week period since training camps started. With 497 players tested, that reflects a positivity rate of 3.2%.

T25 MEN’S BASKETBALL-SCHEDULE

Red Raiders rally past Longhorns

UNDATED (AP) — Mac McClung has led 15th-ranked Texas Tech to victory over one of the Red Raiders’ archrivals.

McClung scored 22 points, including a long, tiebreaking jumper with three seconds left to give Tech a 79-77 win over fourth-ranked Texas.

The 10-2 Longhorns led almost the entire game following a blistering start against one of the nation’s top defensive teams. But a flurry of late 3-pointers and a game-ending, 7-0 run snatched the win for the 11-3 Red Raiders.

Texas had a final chance, but Matt Coleman’s desperation 3-pointer was way off target.

Andrew Jones had 20 for Texas, with just two coming in the second half.

In other top-25 men’s basketball action:

— Carlik Jones scored a season-high 23 points and Louisville opened its ACC schedule 4-0 for the first time by defeating Wake Forest, 77-65. Samuell Williamson added 15 points and 11 rebounds for the 16th-ranked Cardinals, who blew nearly all of a 16-point second-half lead before pulling away in the final six minutes.

— Jay Huff scored 18 points and 18th-ranked Virginia led by 12 at halftime before coasting to an 80-68 victory against Notre Dame. Sam Hauser had 15 points and nine rebounds for the Cavs, who have won four straight and are 4-0 in the conference.

— No. 21 Ohio State earned an 81-71 win over Northwestern behind Duane Washington Jr.‘s career-high 23 points. Justin Ahrens scored all of his 12 points on 3-pointers, including a timely one late in the second half to help preserve the Buckeyes lead.

NHL-SCHEDULE

Flyers open NHL season with win over Pens

PHILADELPHIA (AP) — The Philadelphia Flyers have won the first NHL game of the 2021 season.

Joel Farabee had a goal and three assists in the Flyers’ 6-3 decision over the Penguins. The game was tied 3-3 until Michael Raffl tallied 5:37 into the third period to begin a flurry of scoring for Philadelphia. Oskar Lindblom and Kevin Hayes scored 20 seconds apart to turn this one into a rout.

Nolan Patrick also scored in his first game since April 2, 2019. The 22-year-old center and No. 2 overall pick in the 2017 draft was stricken with debilitating migraines that caused him to miss all of last season.

In other NHL season-opening games:

— Steven Stamkos had a goal and two assists in his return to the Lightning lineup, leading a 5-1 thrashing of the Blackhawks. Brayden Point, Anthony Cirelli, Ondrej Palat (pah-LAHT’) and Mathieu Joseph also scored to help the defending Stanley Cup champs get their seventh consecutive season-opening win.

— The Blues were 4-1 winners over the Avalanche as Oskar Sundqvist scored twice and blocked four shots. Jordan Kyrou also found the net after being recalled from the taxi squad, and new addition Kyle Clifford added another goal for St. Louis.

— Morgan Rielly scored 3:24 into overtime to complete the Maple Leafs’ 5-4 decision over the Canadiens. William Nylander (NEE’-lan-dur) had two goals and an assist for Toronto, while John Tavares provided a goal and two assists.

— Brock Boeser (BEH’-sur) had two goals, including the winner, as the Canucks topped the Oilers, 5-3. Bo Horvat, Adam Gaudette, and rookie Nils Hoglander also scored, and Braden Holtby made 28 saves in his Vancouver debut.

NFL-NEWS

Browns get Denzel Ward back

UNDATED (AP) — Browns top cornerback Denzel Ward is back with the team after missing Cleveland’s past two games with COVID-19.

Ward was activated from the reserve/COVID-19 list along with cornerback Kevin Johnson as the Browns began practicing for Sunday’s playoff game at Kansas City against the top-seeded Chiefs. If he can play, Ward would give Cleveland’s secondary a major boost as it faces Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes and his numerous offensive weapons.

Offensive line coach Bill Callahan also returned to the team after being one of four assistants sidelined by the virus. Head coach Kevin Stefanski says he’s on track to return Thursday after missing Sunday’s wild-card win in Pittsburgh with COVID-19.

Pro Bowl left guard Joel Bitonio remains in isolation, and the Browns are hoping to get him back in the next day or two.

In other NFL news:

— Chiefs running back Clyde Edwards-Helaire has practiced for the first time since suffering a high ankle sprain in a game against New Orleans in Week 15. That’s raising hopes the first-round draft pick can play in the divisional round of the playoffs against Cleveland on Sunday.

— Two people familiar with the decision say the Eagles won’t be penalized after the NFL looked into the way the team handled its quarterback decisions in the final regular-season game against Washington. Coach Doug Pederson removed Jalen Hurts for third-string quarterback Nate Sudfeld in the fourth quarter with Philadelphia trailing by just three points against Washington. Washington secured the NFC East title with the win, the Giants were eliminated and the Eagles moved up to sixth overall in the upcoming NFL draft instead of the ninth.

— The Broncos have hired longtime Vikings executive George Paton as their new general manager. Paton spent the last 14 seasons with Minnesota, including the last six as vice president of player personnel and assistant general manager. Paton will report to John Elway, who shed his GM duties and is keeping his role as president of football operations.

— The Bears plan to keep general manager Ryan Pace and coach Matt Nagy for at least another season. Chairman George McCaskey says the team opted against sweeping changes in leadership after the Bears slipped into the playoffs despite going 8-8 for the second year in a row. Nagy is 28-20 in four years with the Bears.

— The Broncos have hired longtime Vikings executive George Paton as their new general manager. Paton spent the last 14 seasons with Minnesota, including the last six as vice president of player personnel and assistant general manager. Paton will report to John Elway, who shed his GM duties and is keeping his role as president of football operations.

MLB-NEWS

Mark Shapiro gets 5-year extension as Blue Jays’ CEO

TORONTO (AP) — Mark Shapiro (shuh-PY’-roh) has been given a five-year contract extension as the Toronto Blue Jays’ president and chief executive officer.

Rogers Communications chairman Edward Rogers said Shapiro’s leadership and commitment over the last five years have been critical to the team’s growth and development.

The Blue Jays returned to the playoffs last season for the first time since 2016. Toronto was 32-28 during the pandemic-shortened season, earning a wild card in the expanded playoffs.

TENNIS-MURRAY-VIRUS

Murray tests positive for virus before Australian Open

UNDATED (AP) — Andy Murray has tested positive for the coronavirus days before he was due to leave Britain for the Australian Open. A person with knowledge of the situation tells The Associated Press that the three-time Grand Slam champion is isolating at home and still hopes to compete in Australia when it is safe to travel. Murray has been given a wild-card entry into the first Grand Slam tournament of 2021.

The Australian Open was delayed three weeks because of COVID-19 restrictions and is set to begin Feb. 8. Players and officials must spend 14 days in quarantine once they arrive in Australia.

Associated Press

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