Double-double from Giannis extends Bucks’ winning streak to 15, delivers NBA’s best record

NEW YORK — Giannis Antetokounmpo had 33 points and 15 rebounds, and the Milwaukee Bucks extended their winning streak to 15 games by beating the Brooklyn Nets 118-104 on Tuesday night.

Jrue Holiday had 14 points and eight assists for the Bucks, who went 10-0 in February and have passed the Boston Celtics for the best record in the NBA.

Brook Lopez had 13 points and 10 rebounds, and Khris Middleton delivered 18 points off the bench. Milwaukee held Brooklyn to 42 second-half points, dealing the Nets their third straight loss and seventh in their past nine games.

Mikal Bridges led Brooklyn with 31 points. Spencer Dinwiddie had 26 points and eight assists, and Cam Johnson provided 19 points and seven rebounds.

Trailing by 10 at halftime, the Bucks outscored the Nets 66-42 in the second half, using a 14-4 third-quarter run to pull even at 68. Bridges answered Milwaukee’s run with his own personal 10-0 spurt, but the Bucks outscored the Nets 39-23 in the third, including 18-7 over the final 5:04 after Antetokounmpo went to the bench after picking up his fourth foul.

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Then the Bucks, who rank No. 1 in the NBA in defensive rating and fourth in the league in by allowing 111.2 points per game, turned up the defense in the fourth. Brooklyn was just 7 of 23 in the fourth, missing nine straight over a span of 4:23.

Brooklyn was aggressive against Antetokounmpo and the Milwaukee offense early, forcing seven first-quarter turnovers and 12 in the first half. Antetokounmpo had the same number of field goals and turnovers in the first quarter (2), and the Nets turned that defense into offense, using a 17-2 run to build a 15-point advantage.

Bridges had 18 points, Johnson had 15 and six rebounds and Dinwiddie scored 13 and had six assists in the first half, helping Brooklyn take a 62-52 lead at halftime.


Bucks: Made just 4 of 12 free throws (33.3%). … Milwaukee’s win streak is the longest in the NBA this season and the fourth-longest in team history. Brooklyn has the second-longest win streak this season (12, Dec. 7-Jan. 2).

Nets: Forward Ben Simmons (left knee soreness) missed his third straight game, and guard Edmond Sumner (personal) and forward Yuta Watanabe (back tightness) were also unavailable.

Milwaukee 22 30 39 27 — 118

Brooklyn 34 28 23 19 — 104

MILWAUKEE — Connaughton 2-6 0-0 5, G.Antetokounmpo 15-27 2-6 33, Lopez 6-13 0-0 13, Allen 3-6 0-1 7, Holiday 7-12 0-0 14, Beauchamp 0-2 0-0 0, Crowder 1-2 0-0 2, Middleton 7-13 1-2 18, Portis 2-7 1-3 6, T.Antetokounmpo 0-0 0-0 0, Leonard 1-2 0-0 3, Ingles 2-5 0-0 6, Carter 4-6 0-0 11, Green 0-1 0-0 0. Totals 50-102 4-12 118.

BROOKLYN — Finney-Smith 2-7 1-1 5, Johnson 6-12 5-6 19, Claxton 4-6 1-2 9, Bridges 11-19 6-7 31, Dinwiddie 9-17 3-4 26, O’Neale 1-5 1-2 4, Harris 0-2 0-0 0, Sharpe 1-2 0-0 2, Curry 0-1 0-0 0, Duke Jr. 1-2 1-1 3, Smith 1-3 0-0 3, Thomas 0-7 2-2 2. Totals 36-83 20-25 104.

3-point goals — M 14-37 (Carter 3-4, Middleton 3-7, Ingles 2-4, G.Antetokounmpo 1-2, Leonard 1-2, Portis 1-2, Allen 1-4, Connaughton 1-4, Lopez 1-4, Beauchamp 0-1, Crowder 0-1, Holiday 0-2), B 12-36 (Dinwiddie 5-10, Bridges 3-7, Johnson 2-5, Smith 1-2, O’Neale 1-4, Thomas 0-3, Finney-Smith 0-5). Rebounds — M 55 (G.Antetokounmpo 15), B 38 (Claxton, Johnson 7). Assists — M 32 (Holiday 8), B 25 (Dinwiddie 8). Total fouls — M 21, B 19. Att. — 17,732.

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Pittsburgh Pirates and Baltimore Orioles finish game without umpires

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Antoine Davis’s quest to break Pete Maravich’s NCAA scoring record goes from possible to probable – WSB-TV Channel 2

Get ready for a debate over who should be recognized as college basketball’s rightful all-time leading scorer.

Little-known Detroit Mercy combo guard Antoine Davis now could be a single game away from .

Davis extended his college career beyond the opening round of the Horizon League tournament on Tuesday night, tallying 38 points to lead eighth-seeded Detroit Mercy to an 81-68 throttling of ninth-seeded Purdue Fort Wayne. The dazzling performance increased Davis’ career output to 3,642 points, 25 shy of equaling Maravich’s NCAA record 3,667 career points that has stood since 1970.

While Detroit Mercy would need an upset against top-seeded Youngstown State on Thursday night to advance beyond the Horizon League quarterfinals, Davis may only require one more game to chase down Maravich. The tough shot-making fifth-year senior has averaged a national-best 28.1 points per game this season and has free rein to shoot from anywhere and everywhere as the centerpiece of a team coached by his father.

If Davis surpasses Maravich on Thursday night, it will come with an asterisk. He’d have needed 143 games to do what Maravich did in just 83.

Maravich played at LSU in an era when freshmen weren’t yet varsity-eligible. For three years, he averaged an unfathomable, almost mythic 44.2 points per game despite not having the benefit of a shot clock or 3-point line. Davis has put up 25.3 points per game for a struggling Detroit Mercy program that has posted losing records in all but one of his five seasons. He has taken advantage of the NCAA waiver granting athletes an extra season of eligibility due to COVID-19 disruptions.

Davis was a long shot to pass Maravich before this season, but he climbed quickly from 22nd on college basketball’s all-time scoring list. In November, he passed the likes of JJ Redick and Larry Bird. Then he eclipsed guys like Tyler Hansbrough and Oscar Robertson. By late January, there was no one left between Davis and Pistol Pete.

With the record within striking distance, Davis upped his scoring output. He has exceeded 30 points in eight of his past nine games. Twice he has eclipsed 40.

On Tuesday night, Davis’ full arsenal of crossovers, jab steps and step-backs were on display during a 14-for-27 shooting night. The slippery 6-foot-1 guard scored 15 of his team’s first 24 points to get Detroit Mercy off to a quick start and then keyed a 14-0 surge early in the second half to put the game away.

While Davis could have added more points after the score was out of reach, that’s not how he wants to get the record. He passed up a couple of scoring opportunities down the stretch to set up teammates with lobs before exiting the game with about a minute to play.

“I’m more focused on winning than the record,” Davis told Yahoo Sports last week. “If I focus on winning, the record will come with it.”

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NBA superstar Kevin Durant takes in Myers Park basketball game

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — The Charlotte area has plenty of star high school basketball players, but the biggest star on Tuesday night at Myers Park was in the stands.

NBA legend Kevin Durant stopped by to watch the Mustangs battle Charlotte Catholic in the state playoffs.

Durant and the Phoenix Suns are in town to play the Hornets on Wednesday night.

Durant was spotted with several members of the Hornets broadcast team sitting high up in the bleachers.

The Suns got to town Monday, and will tip off at Charlotte on Wednesday night at 7 p.m.

The game will mark the Suns debut for Durant, who was traded from Brooklyn at the NBA Trade Deadline but was still sitting out with a knee injury.

He told reporters at Spectrum Center on Tuesday afternoon that he was ready to play again.

“I feel great,” Durant said. “I was having fun out there before I got injured. Looking forward to going out there and picking up where I left off.”

Myers Park won the game 76-44 and will play North Meck in the 4A regional final on Saturday.

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Regular Season Games Are Diminished By The MLB Ghost Runner—And A Possible Target Score In NBA OT

The Kings and Clippers played the seventh double-overtime game of the NBA season last Friday night.

But that’s not what those who stayed up late on both coasts watching the game will remember about the Kings’ wild 176-175 win, which was the second-highest scoring game in history behind the Pistons’ 186-184 triple-overtime win over the Nuggets on Dec. 13, 1983.

The enthusiasm expressed on Twitter harkened back to the days when people were abuzz on Twitter over good things and seemed to be shared by those on the court, with Russell Westbrook — who made his Clippers debut — chalking a “crazy” game up to both teams being well-rested off the All-Star Break.

“From a fan’s standpoint, I can see how this game would have been a lot of fun to watch,” Kings head coach Mike Brown said.

Whether from the couch or the arena/stadium, it’s always fun to watch something extraordinarily rare or unprecedented. So of course the NBA might want to ensure last Friday night’s marathon display of offense never happens again.

Per Bleacher Report, the NBA is considering implementing a “target score” — also known as the “Elam Ending” — for overtime games. The concern appears to be broadcasts that blow past the allotted window as well as workload for players. Six players were on the court for at least 40 minutes last Friday while Westbrook played more than 39 minutes.

Alas, this seems to be the NBA’s attempt to match Major League Baseball by eliminating the remote possibility of witnessing a uniquely memorable occurrence during an otherwise mundane regular season game. The Kings-Clippers marathon took place 11 days after MLB’s Joint Competition Committee voted to make permanent the rule that’s placed an automatic runner at second base at the start of every extra inning since the COVID-wracked 2020 season.

While the idea in 2020 — to finish the game as soon as possible and minimize interaction in the middle of a pandemic — was noble and understandable, it’s an overreaction in more normal-ish times. Fangraphs’ Jay Jaffe noted the average extra-inning game was a shade more than 11 innings in 2019, when only 2.3 percent of games lasted 12 innings or more.

At least that’s more regularly than a double-overtime game in the NBA, which also only happened seven times last season — fewer than one half of one percent of all games.

Eliminating the possibility, however slim, of seeing an epic multi-overtime game is another way of minimizing a regular season that’s already drastically shrunk in terms of importance. The NBA is well into the era of “load management,” in which players take regular nights off. Just four players participated in all 82 games last season, down from 21 players during the previous full season in 2018-19.

And the idea of chasing regular season greatness appears to have evaporated with the 2015-16 Warriors, who set a record with 73 wins but lost to the Cavaliers in the NBA Finals. Just five teams have won at least 60 games over the last five full regular seasons and no one is on pace to do so this year.

The Major League Baseball regular season, once the most meaningful long-distance race in sports, is trending towards irrelevance as well. The playoff field expanded to 12 teams lat year, when the 111-win Dodgers were eliminated in the LDS while the 86-win Phillies won the NL pennant. And just 15 players have played in at least 160 games over the last two seasons, down from 23 during the 2018-19 seasons.

Implementing the ghost runner for the long term is another way of removing meaning from the regular season and a blow for those who like to trek to the ballpark or turn on the TV in hopes of seeing something they’ve never witnessed before.

The longest game in baseball history, the 33-inning International League marathon between Pawtucket and Rochester in 1981, was the subject of the book “Bottom of the 33rd” in 2011. A line score display commemorating the game is painted at McCoy Stadium in Pawtucket. Google
searches for “Brewers White Sox 25 innings” and “Mets Cardinals 25 innings” will yield dozens of longform stories looking back at the two longest MLB games of the last 100 years.

Now that the novelty has worn off, is anyone going to remember how an extra-inning game ends in 2023 and beyond? The Kings-Clippers slugfest might inspire a 3,000-word feature in a couple decades, just as the record-setting Pistons-Nuggets game did at ESPN.com in 2005. Is anyone going to remember a random game determined by the Elam Ending? Almost certainly not, but at least there won’t be any double overtime games ending beyond the scheduled broadcast window.

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Davis nears Maravich’s NCAA record, Detroit Mercy advances | National Sports

DETROIT (AP) — Antoine Davis scored 38 to move within 25 points of tying Pete Maravich’s NCAA record and Detroit Mercy beat Purdue Fort Wayne 81-68 on Tuesday night in the Horizon League Tournament.

Davis will have another opportunity to reach Maravich’s career scoring record of 3,667 on Thursday when Detroit (14-18) faces No. 1 seed Youngstown State. Davis also made six 3-pointers to move within seven from the NCAA single-season mark of 162 set by Stephen Curry in the 2007-08 season.

Davis was 14 of 27 from the field with eight rebounds, eight assists and four steals in his final home game at Calihan Hall — where his No. 0 jersey is one of 11 retired. Davis was wide open on a breakaway in the closing seconds but opted to pass it to walk-on Tobin Schwannecke for an easy layup before being subbed out to a standing ovation with 1:05 left.

Marcus Tankersley added 12 points and Damezi Anderson scored 11 for Detroit.

Davis made a steal and no-look pass to Anderson in the corner for a 3-pointer to extend Detroit’s lead to 55-36 with 11:42 remaining. Davis ended Purdue Fort Wayne’s 10-0 run with a jumper from the free-throw line and he sank a step-back 3-pointer on the next possession for a 65-48 lead.

Bobby Planutis scored 20 points for Purdue Fort Wayne (17-15). Anthony Roberts scored 15 and Damian Chong Qui added 12 points.

___ More AP college basketball: https://apnews.com/hub/college-basketball and https://apnews.com/hub/ap-top-25-college-basketball-poll and https://twitter.com/AP_Top25

Copyright 2023 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed without permission.

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Spurs’ Bates-Diop hopes his best NBA season leads to another one

SALT LAKE CITY — Each Spurs game day begins with the same routine for forward Keita Bates-Diop.

He checks the team’s daily injury report and then tries to determine what it might mean for his night.

If the Spurs’ injured list runs longer than a CVS receipt, Bates-Diop figures he better tighten up his shoelaces.

“The more guys out, I’m sure I’ll start or at least play more,” Bates-Diop said.

With the Spurs roster pockmarked by injury lately, Bates-Diop has emerged as coach Gregg Popovich’s go-to fill-in starter.

Heading into Tuesday’s rodeo trip finale at Utah, Bates-Diop had started 12 of the previous 13 games in various lineup incarnations.

“It does not matter to me,” Bates-Diop said. “No matter who is in or out, I’m ready for whatever.”

A journeyman role player, Bates-Diop is enjoying the best season of his five-year NBA career.

He has set new highs in games started (25 entering Tuesday), minutes (20.6 per game) and scoring (8.3 points per game).

On ExpressNews.com:

Gregg Popovich praises Keldon Johnson, Zach Collins for toughness

“He’s progressing very well,” Popovich said.

Bates-Diop can only hope that means there is a job for him next season.

Bates-Diop’s contract is set to expire this summer. At age 27, Bates-Diop might not be a part of the rebuilding Spurs’ long-term plans.

Yet the former Big Ten Player of the Year at Ohio State has proven to be a nice veteran to have around during the team’s ongoing youth movement.

Bates-Diop joined the Spurs before the 2020-21 season after stops in Minnesota in Denver.

In that time, Popovich has tried to coax the perpetually calm Bates-Diop into becoming a bit meaner.

“More than anything, it’s been a matter of becoming a little nastier, a little more aggressive, understanding people want to take his job away,” Popovich said. “He’s trying to carve out an NBA career. We’ve tried to approach him in that tone.”

The message appears to be hitting home.

Entering Tuesday, Bates-Diop was averaging 10.8 points and 4.8 rebounds in 10 February games.

“He’s made significant progress in understanding how you have to be to stay in the NBA,” Popovich said. “That’s really been an area he had to work in.”

On ExpressNews.com:

Former Spurs recall Red McCombs’ generosity, friendship

Whether a strong close to the season will be enough to earn Bates-Diop and new contract — from the Spurs or another team — remains to be seen.

His personal preference is clear.

“I want to have a long career,” Bates-Diop said. “Individually, it’s been the best season of my five years. I hope I get a chance to build on that.”

Pop keeping up with Team USA

Popovich has been out of the USA Basketball business since August of 2021, when he guided the national team to a gold medal at the Tokyo Olympics.

The 74-year-old Spurs coach, however, is still emotionally invested in Team USA.

After the Spurs lost to Utah on Tuesday, Popovich went out of his way to congratulate coach Jim Boylen on guiding the U.S. to a berth in this summer’s FIBA World Cup.

“He and his staff and all those players deserve a lot of credit,” Popovich said.

On ExpressNews.com:

Spurs players want to win games, not draft lottery

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Meet the Officials Who Volunteered for an NCAA Job Most Would Run Away From | Arena

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Santa Cruz Warriors guard Lester Quinones named NBA G League Player of the Week

Santa Cruz Warriors rookie Lester Quinones has been named the NBA G League Player of the Week.Quinones has been honored for games played from Feb. 13-26. Over four games, Quinones led all NBA G League scorers with 31.0 points per game along with 9.5 rebounds and 4.3 assists. Quinones was efficient from the field shooting 47.3% (44-of-93 FG) and 37.0% from 3-point range (17-of-46 3FG). His high-scoring week was highlighted by a season-high 42-point performance against Salt Lake City on Feb. 25. It is the first weekly award of Quinones’ career. The award marks the 17th time in franchise history a player has been named Player of the Week since the NBA G League began giving the award out in 2006. The Santa Cruz Warriors will face the Cleveland Charge for a two-game series on March 2 at 7 p.m. at Kaiser Permanente Arena in Santa Cruz and March 4 at 12:30 p.m. at Chase Center in San Francisco.

Santa Cruz Warriors rookie Lester Quinones has been named the NBA G League Player of the Week.

Quinones has been honored for games played from Feb. 13-26. Over four games, Quinones led all NBA G League scorers with 31.0 points per game along with 9.5 rebounds and 4.3 assists. Quinones was efficient from the field shooting 47.3% (44-of-93 FG) and 37.0% from 3-point range (17-of-46 3FG). His high-scoring week was highlighted by a season-high 42-point performance against Salt Lake City on Feb. 25.

It is the first weekly award of Quinones’ career. The award marks the 17th time in franchise history a player has been named Player of the Week since the NBA G League began giving the award out in 2006.

The Santa Cruz Warriors will face the Cleveland Charge for a two-game series on March 2 at 7 p.m. at Kaiser Permanente Arena in Santa Cruz and March 4 at 12:30 p.m. at Chase Center in San Francisco.

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Padres’ Fernando Tatis Jr. steals a base, scores in return to MLB action

Fernando Tatis Jr. was swinging big and running hard in his first game back.

“Just that feeling of being outside for so long and coming back, it just felt great,” Tatis said shortly after leaving the Padres’ spring training contest against the Giants on Tuesday, the first time he played in a major league game since Oct. 3, 2021 due to injury and suspension.

With help from an automatic ball because the clock expired on pitcher Alex Cobb, Tatis drew a walk on the eighth pitch of his first plate appearance.

Two pitches later, he took off for second base and slid in first feet ahead of the tag. That positioned him to score easily on Jake Cronenworth’s triple.

And just like that, a reminder of the type of havoc Tatis can help inflict.

“It felt amazing,” said Tatis, who later indicated he intended to steal as soon as he reached base. “It’s part of my game, and I’m going to keep doing it. We create runs that way. So that means the Padres are in a good way.”

Padres manager Bob Melvin told Tatis before the game he had a green light to run if he reached base. Tatis responded by holding his first out and pantomimed throttling a motorcycle.

“He looked great,” Melvin said. “I mean, you’d think he would just be overeager and swing at everything, but he didn’t. Draws a walk, steals second base on a really good throw too. … So I think just getting the first game out of the way is exciting for him. And he looked like — shoot, he looked like he did before he came back.”

Tatis, who has averaged a home run every 12.8 at-bats in his three major league seasons and was the fastest player in MLB history to reach 50 home runs and 50 steals in his career, has provided an inordinate amount of excitement for baseball fans. But not every time to the plate can produce a highlight, especially on his first day.

He grounded out to pitcher Ross Stripling on the first pitch of his second plate appearance. In his final at-bat, he struck out looking at a 2-2 fastball from left-hander Taylor Rogers.

In that Tatis played and walked away without injury, it was exactly what he and the Padres wanted from his first game.

“It felt normal,” Tatis said. “It felt like my human nature, and I’m just glad I was out there.”

Tatis will be off Wednesday before likely starting in right field Thursday.

Fernando Tatis Jr. signs autographs before Tuesday's game.

Fernando Tatis Jr. signs autographs before Tuesday’s game.

(K.C. Alfred/The San Diego Union-Tribune)

The 24-year-old Tatis missed the entire 2022 season, sidelined the first four months while recovering from a fractured left wrist and the final two serving the first 60 games of an 80-game suspension for a positive PED test. He is eligible to return on April 20 after sitting out this season’s first 20 games.

Tatis had surgery in September to repair the labrum in his left shoulder and in October had a second surgery on his wrist. He began doing baseball activity in January and has been virtually full-go during spring training.

He had pushed to play earlier, but the Padres wanted to make sure he was ready physically to do all the movements and starting and stopping that could have been required of him in a game. Tuesday, the Padres’ sixth spring game, was the day they had privately targeted for weeks.

Fernando Tatis Jr. scores during the first inning of Tuesday's game against the Giants.

Fernando Tatis Jr. scores during the first inning of Tuesday’s game against the Giants.

(K.C. Alfred/The San Diego Union-Tribune)

It finally arrived.

“First time on a lineup card for my manager,” Tatis said in reference to Bob Melvin, who took over as Padres manager before the 2022 season. “We were talking about (how) it’s been a long time for both of us waiting for that moment. It just felt great just to be out there.”

Tatis spent time reflecting on his past 12 months, a tumultuous period that began with the discovery of the fractured scaphoid bone (wrist) on the eve of spring training last year.

“Not just today,” he said. “All since the beginning of spring, I’ve been having this feeling. Obviously today, it was the first time coming outside and facing (another) team. I definitely sat down and thought a little bit of what happened to me all this time and was just grateful to be back here and just appreciating every moment.”

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